The Highlanders long term

Tough supporting us right now, but I do actually think long-term I still feel the most confident I've felt in this team since 2017.

Front row might well be a problem, but I've seen enough from Bell and Taylor to say if nothing else they'll be two tidy options for the next 4+ years. Still got de Groot, and I think Ma'u is fine. Jury very much out on Wingham, who I think is surely a loosehead long-term if he is going to play at this level.

Outside of that though, Holland and Dunshea is a good lock pairing and in recent weeks, we've seen Haig and Stodart both look quite tidy. Add them to Withy (Who I thought looked much better playing as an openside) and Harmon, and think we're onto a bit of a winner. Makings of a good pack, that I reckon. Need to find some more depth, but a pack of:

  1. de Groot
  2. Bell
  3. ADD
  4. Holland
  5. Dunshea
  6. Haig
  7. Withy
  8. Harmon

Bench: 16. Taylor 17. ADD 18. Ma'u 19. Plummer 20. Stodart

Actually is something to work with, particularly with some new coaches. I think at the very least, Donnelly will get the chop regardless of what happens with Dermody and Dillon.

If you can get the pack going well, I imagine the backline fixes up. Fakatava has been going well, Faleafaga has shown potential, Tele'a has probably been our best signing so far and we've got some good outside backs. We aren't getting the best out of them at the moment, but these are good players, who will come right in a better set-up.

I've no idea what will happen for the rest of this season, I suspect confidence from the coaches is so low and it is seeping into the players, but the long-term prospects are actually quite good. It will be interesting to see what the coaches cook up, think at this point they just need to play a positive brand of rugby. Less kicking, more running, get players in motion with the ball. Basic shit.

Hopefully they can just take a step back, and refresh things. They'll probably go back to Patchell, and all things considered they probably should. If the coaches have been guilty of one thing in recent weeks, it has been knee-jerk reactions rather than trusting the process. Patchell was the talk of the town after three games, and though his form dipped a little, and I, a fan, was calling for him to be left out, you'd probably expect the coaches to have better foresight.

I'd be keen to see Te Hiwi get a run at 12, because Gilbert is all out of sorts, and likewise, Bogado is an international for heavens sake. I don't really get why he hasn't been given more of a chance. On top of that, should get Holland and Dunshea in which will make a big difference to the scrum and around the park.

The season doesn't magically turn around from here, but I'm confident if nothing else we should see some good shoots for the future... because we couldn't possibly get worse.