Harmon making waves for the Highlanders

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He said having the chance to play the final meant a lot, not only to himself but to the side and Dunedin. Everyone was excited at the prospects.

 

"We're ready to go up there and have a good crack at it," he said.

 

"We're not here just to battle away, it's always the goal to make a final so we're grateful to be there."

 

Harmon said having to work hard to achieve bonus point wins had required the Highlanders to play more exciting rugby during the trans-Tasman competition. It wasn't possible to sit back and rely on penalty goals, and as a result, there had been a lot more rugby played.

 

"I think it's made everyone back themselves a bit more," he said.

 

Sharing the prize of making a final had been a 'dream result' for Harmon, who moved south from the Crusaders at the start of the campaign.

 

"Just getting the opportunity has been massive because at the end of the day you just want to play footy, and that's what I've been allowed to do down here. To be in a final, that's the goal, so it's exciting," he said.

 

It also helped that he had regular game time while also being injury-free.

The Highlanders had also developed during the season. Looking back, he said, there were good performances at times during Super Rugby Aotearoa, but they hadn't been able to piece things together consistently.

 

But, now, everyone in the team was playing with confidence. That was a reflection of trusting their game and ability.

 

Given the Blues haven't hosted a final since 2003, he said he could only imagine Eden Park would be heaving on Saturday evening.

 

They had played the Blues twice this year, with shared results, but the fact the Highlanders won their last encounter gave them confidence going into the final that they knew what they needed to stop them.

 

But at the same time, he said they knew if they didn't get their plan right, they knew how good the Blues could be.

 

"That's the thing, they've got big boys who have amazing skill and footwork, the whole business.

 

"That's going to be massive for us, to stop them getting go-forward," he said.

 

Discipline would also be important. Giving away penalties was an opportunity for teams, and the Highlanders couldn't afford to do that.