Manu: Highlanders maul defence let them down

Highlanders captain Nasi Manu has blamed a poor performance in the first half for their loss to the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.

The Brumbies ended a the Highlanders three match unbeaten run by overcoming the Dunedin side 31-18 in t6he Australian capital.

The Brumbies made an explosive start and had secured the four try bonus point by the 35th minute thanks to their efficient use of the rolling maul.

Wallabies international David Pocock was driven over the tryline three times as the Brumbies raced to a 31-8 half time lead.

The second half was an entirely different affair as the Highlanders kept the Brumbies scoreless and won the half 0-12.

Manu said that their first half performance was embarrassing.

“We just didn’t front up in the forward pack and we weren’t in the game in the first half, but we showed what we can do in the second half,” Manu said.

“We were more urgent and showed better attitude in the second half but our maul defence let us down tonight.”

The Highlanders travel back home to Dunedin now as they host South African side the Sharks next week and they are expected to have their All Blacks – Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa – back for the contest.

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