Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson is wary of the form of returning wing Waisake Naholo ahead of this week’s clash with the Highlanders.
Naholo was back in Super Rugby action last Saturday, scoring two tries against the Chiefs in a 26-13 win over the recent overall leaders.
That has caused Matson to put his own wings on high alert ahead of Friday’s game at Forsyth Barr Stadium, saying Naholo “was a beast”.
“At the breakdown he was a beast. He’s thrown the gauntlet down for our two wingers,” he told the NZ Newswire when looking to the match.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge to contain parts of their game that are really hard to contain. One of those is the one-on-one match-ups on the edge.”
Naholo could have had a hat-trick against the Chiefs but was denied late on in a victory that leaves the Highlanders five points behind the Crusaders, who have a game in hand. Despite the latter’s strong start to the season though, Matson is refusing to get carried away.
“We’re standing at the top of the heap but it doesn’t change what we have to do this week,” he added.
“The Highlanders are back to their abrasive best so we’re back at the grindstone. There’s an arm-wrestle that has to take hold beforehand and that’ll be the key, winning that first.”