Highlanders primed for golden point opportunity

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The Highlanders boast three highly regarded first fives in their squad in Josh Ioane, Mitchell Hunt and Bryn Gatland who would all relish the chance to snatch a victory in golden point time.

 

Mitchell Hunt and Bryn Gatland are two players who are no strangers to clutch plays on the buzzer.

 

In the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup championship final between Otago and North Harbour, Bryn Gatland calmly slotted a drop goal in the 80th minute to secure a 17-14 win for North Harbour and lift them into the Premiership.

 

The following year, Mitchell Hunt produced the Halberg Sporting Moment of the Year when he landed a long-range drop goal in the 83rd minute to hand the Crusaders a last-gasp 25-22 win over (ironically) the Highlanders.

Although Josh Ioane is yet to land a drop goal for the Highlanders, he is a fan of how the rule is used in the NRL and would not shirk any chance to lead his side to a golden point victory.

 

“It creates some excitement around the game, and as we saw last week (in the NRL), we saw the Panthers go to golden point, so yeah, I'm a big fan of it,” he said. “I've definitely been practicing my drop goals in case we get to that position.”

 

There will be plenty of interest to see who Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger selects in the 10 jersey for his side’s first Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Chiefs on Saturday 13 June.

 

After playing Josh Ioane at second five-eighth early in the regular season, Mauger said that Ioane would be considered as a first five-eighth primarily for the New Zealand-only competition.

 

"We see Josh as a No 10,” Mauger said. "It's highly likely that Josh won't be wearing the No 12 jersey. We've always thought that he was No 10 but we had a bit of an experiment early on.”

 

 

Golden point explained:

 

If a match is tied after 80 minutes of regular time, the result will be decided by golden point. The first team to score - by drop goal, penalty kick, or try - during a 10-minute period of extra time will take the win and earn four competition points.

 

If a team loses via golden point, they can still earn bonus points for scoring three or more tries than the opposition in either regular time or extra time.

 

Points allocation:

 

·        4 competition points to the winning team

·        1 competition point to the losing team

·        2 competition points to each team if neither team scores during extra time

·        1 competition point to any team scoring three tries or more than the opposition