NZ Rugby World
Finding that Front-Row Edge
The Highlanders are the only team in New Zealand who do not have a prop with All Blacks experience. That’s not exactly a comforting feature for the side who had the worst success rate at the scrum in Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2020. Their propping stocks look very familiar for 2021, with their regular quartet returning alongside a couple of new recruits. What will that mean for their set piece? They will need to show some improvement from a year ago, particularly with a number of the other franchises strengthening their group of props. The other area of concern for the Highlanders again depends on their forwards group, with their work at the ruck needing to show signs of improvement in the season ahead. As was the case with their scrum in 2020, they had the lowest percentage of rucks won last season. There are teams in the competition whose work at the ruck is among their strong suits, and they could really impose themselves on the Highlanders this season if the Southerners do not improve in that area of the game.