Highlanders pay heavy price for lack of patience

20:20, Feb 24 2013
Highlanders v Chiefs
Lima Sopoaga lines up a kick during the Highlanders opening round game against the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders captain Hosea Gear dives over for a try during his side's opening round loss to the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Ma'a Nonu fends off a tackle during round one of Super Rugby.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Nasi Manu makes a break during the Highlanders loss to the Chiefs.
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
Brad Thorn of the Highlanders is tackled during the round four Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Cheetahs.
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
Jake Paringatai of the Highlanders is tackled by Cheetahs players.
Highlanders
Brad Thorn of the Highlanders is tackled during the round four Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Cheetahs.
Highlanders
Frans Viljoen of the Cheetahs is tackled.
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
Kade Poki scoing the first try for the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Hosea Gear makes a break during the Highlanders loss to the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Hurricanes No 12 Tim Bateman attempts a tackled on Jason Emery of the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Highlanders replacement halfback Fumiaki Tanaka looks to clear the ball during the loss to the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Aaron Smith clears the ball during the Highlanders loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Kade Poki makes a break against the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Ma'a Nonu gets caught in a tackle during the Highlanders loss to the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Elliot Dixon tries to break through a Chiefs tackle.
Highlanders 2013 season
The Highlanders hang their heads on the final whistle during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders 2013 season
Lima Sopoaga of the Highlanders kicks a penalty during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders 2013 season
James Horwill of the Reds is tackled by Aaron Smith of the Highlanders during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders 2013 season
Elliot Dixon of the Highlanders scores a try during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders v Blues
Jamie Mackintosh and Andrew Hore watch on as the Highlanders lose their sixth game on the trot.
Highlanders v Blues
Brad Thorn is tackled during the Highlanders' 29-18 loss to the Blues.
Highlanders v Blues
Mose Tuiali'i is tackled by the Blues' James Parsons.
Highlanders v Blues
Ma'a Nonu's shoulder charge on Piri Weepu earned him 10 in the bin.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Hosea Gear scores what would become a disallowed try as the Highlanders slumped to another loss against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Brad Thorn shows his disappointment after the loss to the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
TJ Ioane makes a charge against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Jamie Mackintosh gets an extra push from his teammates.
Highlanders gallery
Ma'a Nonu charges ahead against the Crusaders.
Highlanders gallery
Brad Thorn snares Luke Romano in a tackle.
Highlanders gallery
Aaron Smith fires off a clearing pass.
Highlanders gallery
The Highlanders warm up at AMI Stadium in Christchurch ahead of their clash with the Crusaders.
Highlanders gallery
Brad Thorn thanks the crowd after playing his 100th Super Rugby game in the Highlanders win over the Sharks.
Highlanders gallery
Highlanders fullback Ben Smith.
Highlanders
Tamati Ellison warms up prior to the Highlanders clash with the Sharks.
Highlanders
Josh Bekhuis on the charge against the Sharks.
Highlanders v Kings
Ben Smith gets a pass off during the Highlanders loss to the Southern Kings.
Highlanders v Kings
Hosea Gear attempts to break through the tackles of the Kings.
Highlanders v Kings
Aaron Smith feeds the scrum.
Highlanders v Kings
A dejected Andrew Hore after his sides loss to the Kings.
Highlanders v Bulls
Colin Slade takes a chip kick against the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Tamati Ellison talks to teammate Jason Emery during the loss to the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Aaron Smith clears the ball during the Highlanders' loss to the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Pierre Spies of the Bulls slips through several Highlanders tackles to score.
Highlander gallery 2013
Brad Thorn looks disconsolate after the loss to the Western Force.
Highlander gallery 2013
Liam Coltman charges into Kyle Godwin of the Western Force.
Highlander gallery 2013
Mose Tuiali'i on the charge against the Western Force.
Highlander gallery 2013
Hosea Gear is taken in the tackle of Western Force's Ben Jacobs.
Highlanders season 2013
Highlander Brad Thorn and Brendon O'Connor of the Blues contest a lineout during the Round 16 Super Rugby clash in Dunedin.
Highlanders season 2013
Ma'a Nonu of the Highlanders flings a pass wide to get the backline moving.
Highlanders season 2013
Ben Smith makes a telling break for the Highlanders against the Blues.
Highlanders season 2013
Highlanders wing Hosea Gear gets away from Blues openside Luke Braid.
Super Rugby Gallery
Willi Heinz of the Crusaders is tackled by Ben Smith of the Highlanders during the round 18 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Tom Marshall of the Crusaders is dumped by Ma'a Nonu of the Highlanders during the round 18 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Highlanders player Ben Smith jumping in the air for the ball with Crusaders Matt Todd & Dan Carter.
Super Rugby Gallery
Highlanders player Hosea Gear being tackled by Crusaders players Dan Carter (left) & George Whitelock.
Super Rugby Gallery
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders is tackled by Kade Poki of the Highlanders during the round 18 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Aaron Smith of the Highlanders celebrates after scoring a try during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Hosea Gear of the Highlanders in action during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Joe Wheeler, Brad Thorn and Jake Pringatai of the Highlanders celebrate at the final whistle after their game with the Hurricanes.
Super Rugby Gallery
Josh Bekhuis of the Highlanders goes for the high ball during their game against the Hurricanes.
Highlanders 2013
TJ Ioane on the charge for the Highlanders against the Rebels.
Highlanders 2013
Josh Bekhuis fends off the tackle of Melbourne's Laurie Weeks.
Highlanders 2013
The dejected Highlanders look on after Melbourne scored a late match-winning try.
Highlanders 2013
Bryce Hegarty goes in to score the match-winning try for Melbourne.

Kade Poki offered the Highlanders a bit of hope on an otherwise dispiriting night against the Chiefs on Saturday.

The Stags wing scored a ripping second-half try, which had the Highlanders briefly take a 24-21 lead with half an hour to go, but it was the superior speed and fitness of the Chiefs which led them to score two more tries of their own to take the season opener 41-27.

It obviously wasn't the sort of start the Highlanders had been hoping for in front of more than 17,000 fans, including the rowdy Zoo area, after garnering plenty of attention with their off-season signings.

Kade Poki
BRUSH-OFF: Kade Poki in action against the Chiefs on Friday night.

"We got down into their 22m and got a bit impatient and chucked 50-50 [passes]," Poki said after the game.

"It got a bit disjointed toward the end but I think we were always in it until we made mistakes and let them into the game."

The result swung on Tim Nanai-Williams' second try with quarter of an hour to go.

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With both teams furiously counter-attacking, the Highlanders looked to go wide and a pass to John Hardie went loose. Counties speedster Nanai-Williams, who normally plays as a fullback and was in doubt before the game with a stomach bug, comfortably outpaced the Highlanders' defence to score the Chiefs' bonus point try and put the game out of reach.

"That was a try that we probably should have scored and then we found ourselves under our own posts," Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said.

"At the end of the day our discipline wasn't good enough, our defence from broken play wasn't good enough."

Poki said the Highlanders would look to address their issues during their bye this week before their next game against the Cheetahs in Invercargill on March 9.

"In the second half, I think we got a bit impatient and we tried to score off every phase. We'll fix the problem, we've got the bye to do that, and we should be good going into the second round," said Poki, who is coming off contract with both Southland and the Highlanders and is looking at his options.

There was a further blow to the Highlanders with No 8 Nasi Manu breaking his foot just before halftime. He could be out for the next eight weeks.

That will put further pressure on the Highlanders' depth, with Jake Paringatai due to return from injury to contest a place at the back of the scrum with Elliot Dixon.

Meanwhile, South Africa's Southern Kings made a surprising start to their debut season, beating the Western Force 22-10 with Sergeal Petersen grabbing a brace of tries.

A late fightback from the Cheetahs wasn't enough to deny the Sharks a 29-22 win, Israel Folau scored for the Waratahs but the Reds still won 25-17 and the Bulls held off the Stormers 25-17.

John Kirwan's tenure as Blues coach got off to a winning start with a 34-20 win over the Hurricanes, while the Brumbies beat the Rebels 30-13.

The Southland Times