Super Rugby round eight
Highlanders undermining themselves: Hore
April 6, 2013
Ma'a Nonu had to wear Piri Weepu's joke after the match © Getty Images
The Highlanders must back decisions made on the field 100 per cent, and hold onto the ball, because that was the fun part of rugby, if they are finally to win a Super Rugby match in 2013, hooker and captain Andrew Hore says.
The team had wanted to make a good start against the Blues, and Hore said the game in Auckland couldn't have looked much better at 10 points up after 10 minutes at Eden Park.
"When you get in positions like us [no wins] you are trying too hard and it doesn't work either," Hore said of the team's inability to press home their advantage on the pitch. "Sometimes you just need to have a deep breath and remember what you're doing, and why you're playing footy for a start and enjoying it. Then get out there and have some personal pride in what you're doing … once you get yourself sorted out, I think the Highlanders are going to start winning some games.
"At the moment we're looking left and right instead of looking at ourselves in the mirror, some of us; until we sort that out we're going to keep bumbling away."
Jamie Joseph said there were lessons for all players to be learned, but the Highlanders coach defended Aaron Smith when asked if the scrum-half had been one of the players guilty of trying too hard.
"In fairness to Aaron he's a player who's become an All Blacks very quickly," Joseph said. "He's tasted success at the highest level very quickly, and now he's tasting the other lessons and I think that will make a better man and a better player over the long term. But in the short term, he's going to have a bit of pain.
Joseph, meanwhile, was frustrated the side had copped a sin-binning at a crucial stage but did not show the benefit of experiences in earlier games. "It's a lesson we're paying for dearly every week," he said.
The facts are that the Highlanders' scrum was good, they stole Blues ball at the lineout, and they got the ball over the advantage line, but they were impatient under the pressure of looking for their first win.
"That's something the players have to deal with," Joseph said. "When you're losing, you've just got to make sure mentally you try as hard as possible not to put too much pressure on yourself."
Joseph was pleased with the form of Mose Tuiali'i, saying the former Crusaders and All Blacks backrower had provided drive for the pack. He was also delighted that prop Jamie Mackintosh, playing his first game of the season, had answered critics with a strong scrummaging display, especially in three set-pieces on the Blues line midway through the second half.
The Highlanders founf another way to lose against the Blues, Andrew Hore says (video available only in Australia)