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Highlanders player ratings vs Brumbies | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

By Nick Turnbull

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The Highlanders travelled to the Australian capital, Canberra, to take on the might of the ACT Brumbies on Friday evening with the locals eager to claim their second Kiwi scalp in as many weeks. The Highlanders entered the match with history on their side, winning their last five encounters with the Brumbies, ensuring the clash would be a willing affair.

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That ascendency remained after a physical encounter that saw the Highlanders take the match 33-12, giving themselves a chance at making the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Final.

This is how the Highlanders rated:

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1. Ethan De Groot – 7/10
A performance that gave us a greater insight into the emerging talent this man is. He was strong at the set-piece and physical in defence, as one would expect, yet his ability to play as a receiver and distributor was also on display. Despite a discipline lapse he put in a very credible shift.

2. Ash Dixon – 7.5
Does he know how to play a bad game? Industrious, aggressive, determined – all terms that apply to his performance in Canberra. Deserved his try. Quality shift by a quality leader and player.

3. Siate Tokolahi – 7
Was a real handful in the set-piece tonight against a seasoned Wallaby veteran. Yet there more to his effort than just his scrumagging and showed he is more than a simple one-dimensional player.

4. Bryn Evans – 7.5
Playing some wonderful rugby at the twilight of his career. It is a real credit to see how he has adapted his body and game to still be such a relevant player in 2021. Was a real thorn in the side of the Brumbies at the lineout.

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5. Pari Pari Parkinson – 7
Main man for the Highlanders lineout, delivering quality possession. Enjoyed his work around the park and was held up over the line on a raid in the first half. Probably not as effective in defence as he has been but that aside, a real contributor all-round.

6. Hugh Renton – 7
Diligent in his duties without being spectacular. Appears to have removed the ‘bluff and bluster’ from his game and simply got on with the work required. Rewarded with two turnovers tonight for his efforts.

7. Billy Harmon – 6.5
A decent shift by the openside, topped off by securing a nice team try off a lineout set play. Was guilty of infringing at times but generally won plenty of shoulder battles in tight and did his bit as any good 7 should.

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8. Kazuki Himeno – 6.5
Worked his way into the game after appearing a little absent in the opening exchanges. A handful with the ball in hand and worked well around the recycle with his fellow back-rowers.

9. Aaron Smith – 8
Point-of-difference player tonight scoring two tries but they were just rewards for a consummate performance by the All Black No 9. As always, his ability to make the most effective decisions on both sides of the ball sets him apart, a couple of dicey box kicks aside.

10. Mitch Hunt – 6
Not his greatest night, being exposed defensively at times, but still showed he is the right man for the 10 jumper for the Highlanders as he doesn’t go into his shell if things don’t go his way. A real fighter and we saw that in spades against the Brumbies.

11. Jona Nareki – 6.5
Was dangerous at times and threatened to take the game apart but didn’t take that next step.

12. Scott Gregory – 6
A fair effort and re-aligned his teams attack nicely. Was exposed a few times with defensive misreads but all things considered, he did his bit.

13. Michael Collins – 6.5
Made some really good decisions with the ball in hand but was also prone to not respecting possession at times and took low percentage options. Like his centre partner he did his job and kept a potent Brumbies side honest.

14. Patelesio Tomkinson – 6
Mixed bag for him. Deserved a try but wasn’t always on the right side of the effort on defence.

15. Josh Ioane – 6
Had moments and didn’t look out of place at 15, but was clearly second to the Brumbies Tom Banks in the battle of the fullbacks.

Reserves:

16. Liam Coltman – 6.5
Come on and brought a bit of spark, ensuring the Brumbies didn’t edge their way back into the match by using his experience to help bring the Highlanders home.

17. Ayden Johnstone – 6.5
Thought he scrummaged well at times and really caused the Brumbies a few issues there.

18. Josh Hohneck – 6
Gave away a silly penalty but the match was won by then.

19. Josh Dickson – 6
Contributed nicely and kept the momentum.

20. James Lentjes – N/A
Didn’t see enough.

21. Kayne Hammington – N/A
Came on for the final seconds of the match.

22. Sam Gilbert – 6
Involved himself defensively but should have enjoyed more time.

23: Teariki Ben-Nicholas – N/A
Didn’t see enough.

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Highlanders player ratings vs Brumbies | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

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