Small things will matter in the final - Highlanders

GettyImages 1321861093

Those 'small things' involved conceding the fewest penalties, making the least errors, and being the tidiest around their game plan, he said.

 

"It's just us focusing on us. We know what they're going to bring which is stock standard," he said.

 

Hunt said having played in finals before helped him calm his nerves and to settle into his role in games. Playing the final was a reward for two seasons of hard work during which he has played all but about 40 minutes of the Highlanders' games.

 

"I can imagine it is going to be a pretty incredible atmosphere, loud, a ton of blue flags and the works there, so it is going to be exciting, there will be some nerves, and it is going to be a mixed bag.

 

"What is cool about this group is the growth. From the start of this year to where we are now there has been a great deal of growth.

 

"We've found a little bit of our identity now. I think that is why we are here in this final. The guys have worked really hard for each other, they've trusted each other and the coaches, and the game plan and what we're about," he said.

They deserved their place in the final, and while they had a nervous wait after playing the first game of the last round, their bonus point had proved enough to qualify.

 

"We had a clear goal around the bonus point in Canberra. That was our sole focus. Unfortunately for us, the results were in other team's hands. Our job was the bonus point, and we gave ourselves that chance, and actually won really well," he said.

 

"I don't think any team realised how crucial those bonus points and the pluses and minuses [were] going to be in those first few weeks. It does force teams to play more footy and try and get those tries and the bonus point.

 

"But none of that matters now coming into this weekend, it is just going to be who can build pressure and, ultimately, in the end, the scoreboard is the thing that matters, rather than tries and bonus points.

 

"It will be our third time playing them this year and it is one-all. We know what they bring around their physicality. They've got a great group of guys – a lot of All Blacks in the group. It is going to be tough," he said.

 

"If we can focus on ourselves, really nail the detail within our game plan I think that will take care of itself. I think the whole atmosphere of a final should bring the energy, should bring intensity," he said.