READER REPORT:

Super Rugby: The year of the Highlanders

TIM GORDON
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013
Hosea Gear
Photosport
COMING OF AGE: 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for Hosea Gear (centre) and the Highlanders.

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This could be the year of the Highlanders. The team is looking sharp in pre-season and has recruited well. There is a lot more balance to this Highlanders team than there has been for many years.

The Crusaders will be at the top or thereabouts, as usual, although a lack of finishing power out wide and a potentially green looking bench may be exposed as the season unfolds.

The Hurricanes may struggle. The team should continue to get better as key players become more experienced, but they will probably miss the playoffs.

I expect the Chiefs will miss the playoffs too. Coming off the hype of winning the competition last year, and without Sonny Bill William. who created lots of opportunities, 2013 will be tough.

The Blues might surprise this year, much as the Hurricanes did last year, with a green-looking team. Confidence and enthusiasm is high, and new coach Sir John Kirwan should be able to get more out of the team than Pat Lam did.


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