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Highlanders' Captain Billy Harmon's Vision for Continuous Improvement

Highlanders' Captain Billy Harmon's Vision for Continuous Improvement

All BlacksFebruary 15, 2024

Returning Highlanders captain and flanker Billy Harmon wants his side to keep growing and improving throughout the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition in 2024.

They knew their game plan well through the efforts of their coaches, and it would be a case of continuing to work hard at that.

"It's nothing that's changing the game up, it's just simple and really clear."

Harmon said he was excited by the potential the backline had to offer the side this season.

"We've always had a good forward pack, but with the likes of Kenny Lynn coming on as coach I think he's going to create so much clarity for our backline. They'll play a smart game, a game that can show off the talent that we have."

Central to achieving that will be first five-eighths Rhys Patchell, the former Welsh international who had already made an impression with the side.

"He genuinely loves the game. He's got so much knowledge about it. He brings a different flavour, having experienced different styles of play, and he wants to keep learning, keep getting better and keep helping everyone else to get better."

The side had connected with their region during the pre-season, spending time-based in Alexandra while preparing for their first warm-up game. But they moved around to Cromwell, Wanaka and Ranfurly for training sessions ahead of their game in Queenstown.

"The pre-season has been going awesome. There are a lot of new guys in, a lot of young guys who are keen, and there's good energy. The coaches have done an excellent job setting up our environment and standards, which has shown in how we've started the year. We can keep building on that.

Harmon said the infusion of homegrown talent was exciting, and it showed there is a pathway for young local guys coming through.

All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot had been a trailblazer for those newer players.

"He's been great, from Southland to the All Blacks is awesome for the region. It shows what's possible for these guys, there's a definite pathway. He's been awesome, he keeps growing and growing and has become a leader in our team. The boys respect what he has to say and what he does."

Having so many new players did not change the emphasis in his captaincy approach.

"These young guys are keen, they'll do anything. You don't need to keep them in line, or point them in the right direction too much – they just want to be at their best and do whatever they can for the jersey."

What had impressed him about those who had come in from the regional development programme was they were 'all genuine guys' who wanted to be there and do whatever they could to help the team.

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