Aaron Mauger prefers Jackson Hemopo at lock
Cape Town - Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger says he will continue
utilising Jackson Hemopo at lock, despite All Blacks coach Steve Hansen
deploying him at flank.
Hemopo played at lock in all 16 of his appearances for the
Highlanders in Super Rugby last season. And Mauger still believes the
24-year-old's best position is in the second-row, despite having been selected
as a loose forward in Hansen's Rugby Championship squad.
"We primarily see him as a lock for us with how we want
to play our game, who can cover the loose forwards," Mauger told Stuff.
"The All Blacks obviously see it the other way around,
so there's no issue from our end. It probably suits how they want to play their
There has been talk in some circles that Hansen may instruct
Mauger to field Hemopo in the back-row, but the Highlanders boss believes that
would be an unlikely scenario.
"Not necessarily," Mauger said when asked if
Hansen might instruct him to play Hemopo at flank.
"They don't tend to give us too many, or any,
directives around where they want their guys playing. As long as we're looking
after them and keeping them fit and healthy."