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5 July 2021
aaron smith column main
Scott Gregory and Hugh Renton were two Highlanders who seized their opportunities in 2021.

Aaron Smith reviews the Highlanders season, which saw some inconsistency along with big highs, including making the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final, while showcasing some prime talent (pages 64-66).

It’s been a season of two parts, with two separate competitions in their own sense.
We looked at the Trans-Tasman competition as a chance to change people’s perception of us and try and do something we didn’t do in the Aotearoa competition, which was win back to back games and get up again after getting up for the big ones.
We wanted to give ourselves a chance to make the Aotearoa final, and so we were disappointed. We had to win four straight and won the hardest one, over the Crusaders. Then we lost in overtime to the Chiefs. I felt we were a better team, but they were desperate and we didn’t respect them enough because we were still thinking about the week before and patting ourselves on the back, if we are being honest. We ended by beating the Blues at home the week after that, but then played poorly in the last game at the Hurricanes.
We learned that we are a good team but when we don’t prepare accordingly, then we don’t nail the little things in our game and if we don’t respect the opposition, we can be average.

Continue this story in our July issue...

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