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Emerging Highlanders Stars to Shine in Super Rugby Showdown

Emerging Highlanders Stars to Shine in Super Rugby Showdown

All BlacksMarch 15, 2024

Highlanders fans will get a look at the side's potential long-term future when some of their emerging players start in Saturday's DHL Super Rugby Pacific game against the Brumbies in Dunedin.

First five-eighths Cam Millar, hooker Jack Taylor and No8 Nikora Broughton have been named in the side which has enjoyed one of its better starts in recent seasons.

Millar said he was pleased to be able to get a start after the injury frustrations he suffered last year.

"The boys did a good job in Australia so if we can keep that momentum going under the roof for our fans it would be awesome."

He has also benefited from having former Wales international Rhys Patchell in the squad, who has helped him and fellow five-eighths Ajay Faleafaga, especially in his preparation.

"He nails his week with kicking and defence, high balls everything, so I've been following his lead and trying to work on parts of my game."

Millar said Faleafaga had made the most of his opportunities in recent weeks, scoring a try against the Blues and making line breaks against the Waratahs, and it was good to have that competition.

"It's only a good thing, and it brings the best out of people and, hopefully, that will be good for us in the future."

Millar's combination with halfback Folau Fakatava will also be necessary.

"We'll be driving the game, so getting good communication with him and allowing him to be himself [is vital].

"We all know how good a player he is around the rucks, so I'll just be doing my part and allowing him stick to his game."

He has examined the Brumbies' game. They have attacking threats that would require the Highlanders to be switched on, especially with the pace the Brumbies have on their wings.

"Attacking and defence wise there are opportunities there that we will be looking to exploit."

The Highlanders had their attacking options, with Martin Bogado and Timoci Tavatavanawai on the wings and Jacob Ratumataivuki-Kneepkens at fullback.

"It's nice having those strike weapons out and knowing that if we do our job on the inside and create some space for those boys on the width they are going to do some awesome things."

Captain and flanker Billy Harmon said the side was confident that Millar and his Gore teammate, hooker Jack Taylor would do well with the starting opportunities they are getting.

"Both the guys are young people the boys love being around and they are going to do everything they can to make things right for them."

Harmon said No8 Hugh Renton's loss was significant, but they were lucky that replacement Nikora Broughton had great attacking ability, and with Tom Sanders' return, they provided the toughness the side needed.

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