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of the Otago Daily Times
The Highlanders need to be shown a
bit more respect, their former coach Greg
Cooper, who coached the side from
2004-07, has been impressed by the
performance of the side this year and says
they are extremely well coached.
“Just the way people were talking before
the match (on Saturday), they were
saying what they had achieved and had
almost over-achieved. But we need to
show them some respect and realise how
good some of their players are,” he said.
“ We are an extremely well-coached
team. We are very well organised and
have a great team spirit.
“They have some great players. In nine
and 15, they are the best in the world in
“They have other good players around
the park and others playing to the best of
“I think that is a reflection of the
environment which has been created —
the coaching and the leadership.”
Cooper coached the Highlanders to
victories in Sydney in 2004 and 2007 and
said this weekend would be a tough test.
“It ’s always a hard one in Sydney.
Tactically we have to expose them in
certain situations. When they came over
here earlier in the season, they were a
good side when they played us. But they
were not playing as well then as they are
“The positive we have is we are
extremely good at reading the opposition.
We will have the appropriate game plan
to suit them. We won’t change the core of
our game plan but add subtleties.
“An example of that is the way the
Chiefs picked a slow loose forward
on their scrum last week and you get
someone like Aaron Smith to expose
He said Saturday night ’s game would
be tight and the momentum of the
Waratahs had to be stopped.
“ We have to get off the line quickly, win
the gain line, win the collision, and they
won’t get momentum. We must stop the
likes of Will Skelton from getting a roll
The Highlanders beat the Waratahs 26-
19 earlier in the season at Forsyth Barr
Cooper said his side’s 29-28 win in 2004
featureda thrilling 21-point comeback.
The Highlanders were down to 14 men
and had to watch as ace Waratahs kicker
Matt Burke hit the post with a penalty in
front before the final whistle.
In 2007, the Highlanders were in
another tight contest in Sydney, clinging
to victory 26-25.
Meanwhile, used to teams trying to
slow them down, the NSW Waratahs are
planning to slow down the Highlanders
Waratahs attack coach Daryl Gibson
has identified the fast-paced style of the
Highlanders as a key component of their
“We need to try and put the brakes on
them to try and slow them down, and try
and dictate the tempo of the game that
we want to play,” Gibson said.
Gibson felt conditions at Sydney ’s
Allianz Stadium might help the Waratahs
cause, as he said the Highlanders were
used to playing on a fast surface under the
roof of their home ground in D unedin.
“The ground out here is going to slow
them down a bit and so we certainly don’t
fear their style, but we know we’re in for a
good challenge,” Gibson said.
Although the Waratahs have not been
winning by the big margins they did last
year, they have only scored five fewer tries
and won one less match than they did in
“I think we’re maturing,” Gibson said.
“ We’ve had to win games this year a
different way. Particularly in the last two
or three games, we’ve scored tries from
different sources of possession, which
has been very pleasing. We’ve talked all
year about how our game has to evolve,
we have to be better than what we were
last year and find different ways to
win. I think we’re doing that currently
and we see some opportunities in the
Highlanders we think we can get at.”
The Hurricanes will be without
wing Cory Jane for their semi-
final clash with the Brumbies in
Wellington on Saturday night.
Jane has been limited by a
hamstring injury lately and did
return to action in the Hurricanes’
final match of the regular season
against the Chiefs two weeks ago
but lasted only 18 minutes before he
left the field and has not recovered
The All Black is a reliable defender
and safe under the high ball but
in his absence, new international
Nehe Milner-Skudder will play on
the right wing. James Marshall will
start at fullback. Matt Proctor has
recovered from a recent concussion
to join the bench as cover.
After missing the clash against
the Chiefs with a minor calf niggle,
Beauden Barrett will start at pivot,
which provides the side with a
steady hand at first-five.
Versatile for ward Blade Thomson
will return to the bench after being
laboured with an ankle problem
The table-topping Hurricanes
will earn the right to host the Super
Rugby final — against either the
Waratahs or the Highlanders — if
they are to win this weekend.
The last time they hosted a semi-
final was in 2006 when they beat
the Waratahs 16-14.
Veteran second-five Ma’a Nonu
is the only current Hurricane who
played in that match.
The Hurricanes have opened as
favourites this week, which is in
part due to their dominance during
the regular season where they won
14 from 16 matches, while the
Brumbies have endured a tough
travel schedule after beating the
Stormers in Cape Town in their
elimination final clash last weekend.
Wing Henry Speight is suspended
for the Brumbies this week after
performing an illegal tackle during
the win over the Stormers.
This Saturday ’s match is set to be
a sell-out with more than 30,000
tickets already snapped up.
“This is a historic occasion for
the Hurricanes and we’re thrilled
at the prospect of selling out. It ’s a
real tribute to our fans that they ’ve
turned out in such huge numbers,
and I’m sure the team will be
buoyed by the fantastic crowd,”
Hurricanes chief executive James
Te Puni said.
Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad
Smith (c), Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea,
Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara,
Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad
Shields, James Broadhurst, Jeremy
Thrush, Ben Franks, Dane Coles,
Reggie Goodes. Reser ves: Brayden
Mitchell, Chris Eves, Jeffery
Toomaga-Allen, Mark Abbott,
Blade Thomson, Chris Smylie, Rey
Lee-Lo, Matt Proctor.
— New Zealand Herald
Thursday, June 25, 2015
of the Herald on Sunday
There was no gently easing into camp
for the All Blacks on day one. It was
bags down and into it, with head coach
Steve Hansen making it clear that self-
improvement is the number one goal
with a view to that driving collective
This is the year of reckoning for
Hansen and his All Blacks — the
next four months having the potential
to dramatically alter, negatively or
positively, the overall impression of his
It is always this way in World Cup
year — no international coach can
pretend anything else matters, which
is why Hansen is determined to see his
team find yet more improvements and
to arrive in England with still more to
It is much the same for a number of
long-serving All Blacks who will call it
quits this year: for all that the likes of
Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu,
Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock and
Keven Mealamu have achieved, the next
four months will skew the weighting.
It is a tough, relentless business being
an All Black and that was the message
delivered by coaching staff.
The All Blacks have a chance to make
history this year but they have to be
prepared to drive themselves to even
“I think the New Zealand sides have
performed really, really well (in Super
Rugby),” Hansen said.
“The contests between the Kiwi teams
have been fierce and you want that. The
skill levels have been good.
“But we all know test rugby is a little
bit faster and it shows up any weaknesses
you have in your game, so it is about
making sure that we have a group of
players that want to improve when they
walk in the door and aren’t satisfied with
where they are. A lot of the discussions
taking place over the next few days are
about ‘right, how do we do that?’.
“Particularly for the guys who have
been here a long time. We don’t want
them being comfortable with their game.
They have got to get uncomfortable and
challenge themselves to be better.”
Within reason, management will be
quite happy for all 41 players to be
feeling a level of anxiety during the next
They want players to be comfortable
in the sense they understand the
expectations and culture of the team —
but in no way complacent about their
chances of staying in it beyond the end
“The next five games is a real
opportunity to say, ‘Right you have got
an opportunity to express yourself and
tell us why you should be on the plane
when we name the team’,” Hansen said.
“That will put some pressure on some
of the older guys and also be exciting for
the younger guys to think they have an
opportunity to go to the World Cup if
they play well. Both the old and the new
the recipe is the same — you have got to
prepare well and then go out and believe
and trust your own instincts.”
Jane out of Hurricanes
The New Zealand golf phenom
and world No 2 has been
nominated for two awards at the
ESPY awards including the Best
International Athlete category.
Ko is the only female
nominated for the award which
also includes nominees Cristiano
Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton and
Ko is also nominated for best
female golfer alongside current
world No 1 Inbee Park and world
No 3 Stacy Lewis.
The ESPY ’s, America’s sport
version of the Oscars, celebrate
the best sporting achievements
Previous winners of the Best
International Athlete award
include Messi, Ronaldo, Usain
Bolt, Roger Federer and female
golfer Lorena Ochoa.
In early 2015, Ko smashed the
mark for being the youngest
golfer to hold the world No 1
ranking. She achieved the feat
aged 17 years and 167 days —
Tiger Woods held the record
at 21 years and 167 days while
Korean Jiyai Shin was 22 when
she became the top women’s
golfer in 2010.
Ko has held the No 1 spot for
most of this year, relinquishing
it in recent weeks to Park. Her
coach, David Leadbetter, had
been surprised at the how fast Ko
reached the top spot. He had not
expected Ko to be so consistent
early in her professional career.
She made headlines around the
world and seasoned obser vers
have been amazed at her ability
to cope with the pressure — to
emphasise that, she claimed the
Australian Open title soon after
reaching the No 1 spot.
It is only in recent weeks that
she has struggled to maintain
such a hot pace. Ko also remains
without a major title after
disappointing performances in
the first two this year.
Ko vs the rest. — Money earned:
Cristiano Ronaldo, $NZ115m
(2014); Lionel Messi, $107m
(2014); Novak Djokovic, $70m
(2014); Lewis Hamilton, $56m
(2014); Lydia Ko, $4.3m (Career).
Age: Cristiano Ronaldo 30,
Lewis Hamilton 30, Lionel Messi
28, Novak Djokovic 28, Ko 18.
— New Zealand Herald
Ko up against Messi, Ronaldo
PICTURE: Getty Images
Highlanders’ coach Jamie Joseph with his charges.
Highlanders’ success down
to coaching, says Cooper
ABs face hard slog in year of reckoning
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