The old dogs keep flooding back

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 08:30
Large mose tuiali i Large brad thorn highlanders h s Large jake paringatai Large tony woodcock

Struggling Super Rugby side the Highlanders have been forced to send another SOS to an aging All Black in Japan, this time bringing back former Crusader Mose Tuiali'i.

Struggling Super Rugby side the Highlanders have been forced to send another SOS to an aging All Black in Japan, this time bringing back former Crusader Mose Tuiali'i.

The 32-year-old Tuiali'i, who played nine Tests for the All Blacks and has been in Japan since 2008, returns to replace injured No. 8 Nasi Manu.

He becomes the fifth New Zealand player brought back from Japan in the past two years to bolster the Highlanders, who are the only winless side in this year's Super Rugby competition.

Last month the  Dunedin-based  franchise brought back Neil Brew, 34, seven years after the journeyman centre went offshore to play first in Bristol, England, and then in Japan.

During the off-season, Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph picked up 32-year-old loose forward Jake Paringatai and former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn, 38, who were both playing in Japan.

Last year, he brought home 30-year-old Tamati Ellison, who was with Japanese club Ricoh.

The Highlanders started the year as one of the more fancied New Zealand sides following their recruitment of Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu from the Blues to put 11 past or present All Blacks in their ranks.

However, they have been hit by injuries to several key players and also the loss of All Blacks  flank  Adam Thomson, who has quit New Zealand rugby to play in Japan.

The return of a number of players from Japan seems to be the problem for Joseph and the Highlanders as a lot of the teams in Japan do not play to the same intensity as Super Rugby which means that these players have not experienced the physicality and pace of Super Rugby for a number of years.

The reason for this is that these players are on their way out of the international rugby spotlight - heading into the twilight of their careers.

The professionalism of a lot of the teams does not match that of Super Rugby and it seems that Japanese champions Suntory Sangoliath is the one side that could, potentially, match-up to a Super Rugby franchise.

This is not the reason why the Highlanders have been battling this season but with the pace of the play increasing every season, these older players are being left behind and drop off the pace during the 80 minutes on the field.

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Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
Fri, 02 September 2016
Boland v Pumas 13h00 Wellington
Blue Bulls v Golden Lions 17h00 Pretoria
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Pumas v Griquas 35 | 41
Golden Lions v Boland 60 | 12
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
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Team P W D L Pts
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Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
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Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
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Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9