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Super Rugby Form Watch: Highlanders

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Sunday, November 25, 2018    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Jackson Hemopo
Games played: All Blacks vs Japan, Maori All Blacks v Brazil, Maori All Blacks v Chile
The scoop: Jackson Hemopo continued his meteoric rise in November with strong performances for both the All Blacks and Maori All Blacks. The powerful second-rower was one of the All Blacks best in their 69-31 victory over Japan in Tokyo before joining the Maori All Blacks for their South American tour. Hemopo made a big impact off the bench in the 35-3 win over Brazil with a try and a number of powerful surges to help quell a feisty Brazil side. Hemopo started at lock in the Maori All Blacks final match against Chile and was just as effective in crossing for two tries in the 73-0 rout.
Points scored: 15 (three tries)
Rating: 9/10

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Ben Smith
Games played:
All Blacks vs Australia (Yokohama), All Blacks vs England, All Blacks vs Ireland
The scoop: Ben Smith had a big workload on the right wing for the All Blacks with 80-minute performances against Australia, England and Ireland before earning a well-earned rest for the final Test of the season against Italy. The 32-year-old outside back showed he still has plenty of pace left in his legs with a 50-metre runaway try against Australia in Yokohama. While the two Tests against England and Ireland didn’t offer many scoring opportunities, Smith was steady under a high ball assault from both teams and solid on defence. A shift back to fullback is likely for the Highlanders with Waisake Naholo and Tevita Li poised to form a lethal back three partnership with Smith.
Points scored: 5 (one try)
Rating: 7.5/10
Liam Squire
Games played:
All Blacks vs Australia (Yokohama), All Blacks vs England, All Blacks vs Ireland
The scoop: The first choice All Blacks number six, Liam Squire had a solid Vista Northern Tour for the All Blacks with his hard-running and punishing defence to the fore. Squire opened the scoring for the All Blacks on tour by crossing early in the 37-20 win over Australia in Yokohama and was in the thick of the torrid forward battles against both England and Ireland. After a punishing season on his body, 27-year-old Squire will be looking forward to recuperating over the Christmas break and continuing his high-octane style of play in what promises to be a huge 2019.
Points scored: 5 (one try)
Rating: 7/10

Josh Ioane
Games played:
Maori All Blacks v USA, Maori All Blacks v Brazil, Maori All Blacks v Chile
The scoop: After an impressive Mitre 10 Cup campaign for Otago, first five-eighth Josh Ioane showed his class during the Maori All Blacks tour of the Americas. Coming on from the bench in the Maori All Blacks 55-29 win over USA at Soldier Field, Ioane’s play-making ability was to the fore as he set up tries to Jonah Lowe and Shaun Stevenson late in the game. Ioane was again influential from the bench in the hard fought victory over Brazil by combining with centre Matt Proctor to put Jonah Lowe over for a well-worked try. Ioane was rewarded with a starting berth at fullback against Chile and was the catalyst for much of the Maori All Blacks counter attack as they surged to a 73-0 victory.
Points scored: 13 (four con, one try)
Rating: 8/10

Tyrel Lomax
Games played:
All Blacks vs Japan, Maori All Blacks v Brazil, Maori All Blacks v Chile
The scoop: Former Australian U20 star Tyrel Lomax made huge strides in November for both the All Blacks and Maori All Blacks. The 22-year-old powerhouse prop made a great impression on debut for the All Blacks against Japan in Tokyo before two strong performances for the Maori All Blacks in South America. Against Brazil, Lomax came on from the bench to subdue an imposing Brazil scrum that had tested the Maori All Blacks early in the match. Lomax started at tighthead prop against Chile and was an imposing force at scrum time and with ball in hand as the Maori All Blacks ran away with a 73-0 win.
Rating: 7.5/10