Super Rugby
Osborne finds top form after contract extension
April 10, 2015
Osborne believes he is free to play his best rugby after extending his contract with the Highlanders © Getty Images

Patrick Osborne believes extending his contract at the Highlanders until the end of next season has freed him up to start playing his best rugby.

"It has made a big difference to my game," the powerful Fijian winger said ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch. "I signed on the day we played the Chiefs and I noticed that I started playing much better from then on. It was a weight off my mind. I had been looking at offers and thinking about going overseas. It was a big decision and it was affecting my game."

Osborne, 27 and 108kg, has been explosive for the Highlanders with ball in hand and he has been given free licence by the coaches.

"They encourage me to play my game and get involved wherever I can," he said. "I'm really enjoying it and it's just a case of carrying on with something good. I like getting involved with the forwards, to jump in and be in the thick of it. I go looking for the ball if it doesn't come my way and the coaches have told me to back myself."

He and fellow Fijian winger, Waisake Naholo, have forged a special relationship as Naholo settles in to Dunedin.

"We talk away in Fijian during the week. I'm sort of a big brother to him. We're feeding off each other and competing as well, trying to get more tries than each other. He's leading at the moment [four-three] and I'll have to see whether I can do something about that."

Osborne was studying marine biology at Suva University before he was spotted and joined the Canterbury academy in 2009. He has played 36 games for Canterbury.

"The Crusaders are a good team and they build heaps of pressure," he said. "Our job will be to stand up to the set piece and the pressure they will try and put on us."


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