Highlanders need to adapt, says Brown - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Highlanders need to adapt, says Brown

05/05/2011 02:26:08 PM Comments (0)

Evergreen five-eighth Tony Brown believes the Highlanders need to take a hard look at themselves before meeting Super Rugby rivals the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday night.

The Highlanders went down 15-10 to the Blues in Dunedin last week in a match remembered for the controversial refereeing of Chris Pollock.

Brown, who will miss the match against the Chiefs with a hamstring strain, said while some of Pollock's decisions unsettled the Highlanders, they had to look at themselves if they were to regain their winning habit.

"We gave away a lot of penalties against the Blues which made it very difficult to create pressure," the former All Black said.

"We also dropped a lot of ball when we had the opportunity to attack and to score points. If you do that against a quality team, you're never going to win.

"We didn't adapt to the referee, obviously, because we kept getting pinged right to the end of the game. I guess smart sides might get penalised early but end up adapting to the referee."

The Highlanders have not won since 2003 in Hamilton.

The Chiefs returned home early this week after beating the Lions in Johannesburg and losing 27-43 to the Bulls in Pretoria.

"They'll be hurting and they have a lot to prove to themselves and their public," Brown, 36, said of the fifth and last-placed New Zealand franchise.

The Highlanders beat the Chiefs 23-13 in Dunedin in the second round.

Injuries are making it a war of attrition for the Highlanders, with Shaun Treeby still sidelined and in-form fullback Ben Smith continuing to deputise.

Brown, who is replaced at No.10 by Lima Sopoaga, is confident he will be available again in a couple of weeks.

There is no question the Highlanders will miss Brown's defence around the fringes and his around-the-field direction, while goalkicking continues to be a weakness.

The Highlanders have kicked 37 goals from 67 attempts, the poorest ratio of the New Zealand teams.

Highlanders' coach Jamie Joseph has made two changes to his bench, with Brayden Mitchell taking over from Mo Schwalger as reserve hooker and prop Bronson Murray coming in for David Te Moana who has a calf injury.

Highlanders (15-1): Robbie Robinson, Kade Poki, Kendrick Lynn, Ben Smith, Siale Piutau, Lima Sopoaga, Jimmy Cowan, Nasi Manu, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Josh Bekhuis, Jarrad Hoeata, Chris King, Jason Rutledge, Jamie Mackintosh (captain). Reserves: Brayden Mitchell, Bronson Murray, Tom Donnelly, Nick Crosswell, Aaron Smith, Matt Saunders, James Paterson.

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