Highlanders flank Adam Thomson knows that his team need to clean up their act at the breakdown if they want to keep a full team on the field and mount a serious challenge this season.
The team from Dunedin have been hit hard by injuries ahead of the new season, and coach Jamie Joseph was grateful to get through the warm-up clash with the Blues on Friday without further casualties, but he will also know that they need to take a good look at how they are approaching the breakdown before the season starts.
Last year the Highlanders were very competitive on the ground and tended to flood the breakdown, but with the new focus in that area this season it is clear they will have to adapt their approach.
Joseph's team were blown off the park in the match against the Blues, and it is something that breakdown ace Adam Thomson knows they need to improve before their opening fixture of the season against the Chiefs.
He told Sunday News: "We're not adapting well. We gave away far too many penalties at the breakdown against the Blues. If it had been a proper game we would have lost a couple of guys to the bin.
"Although the attitude there is right and we did turn over a lot of ball, discipline and getting the little things right there cost us and it's something we're going to have to have a hard look at this week," added Thomson.
The All Black loose forward said that it would be a case of tweaking a few things to ensure that the Highlanders are in line with the expectations of the referees before the new season kicks off.
"It's just small things," he said. "It's things referees are looking hard at, like coming in square through the gate, staying on your feet and the tackler releasing. "They're simple things, I think everyone knows them, we've just got to execute them more."
Joseph admitted that he became quite frustrated watching his team getting continually penalised, and added that they would need to learn from the experience quickly.
"You get pretty emotional watching lots of penalties getting given away but then you have a good look at it Monday and sometimes you're proven wrong and sometimes you're proven right," he said.
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