Scrumhalf Aaron Smith played another influential role as the Highlanders clinched a 15-9 win over the Brumbies in Friday’s quarter-final, according to SARugbymag.co.za’s Opta-powered stats.
Although the Highlanders’ highly regarded kicking game was not at its best in wet weather conditions, Smith was still instrumental for the visitors.
As Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham pointed out at half-time, the Highlanders played a lot off their No 9, as they so often do. On Friday, Smith made 75 passes, completed 32 running metres, beat two defenders and executed six kicks.
Although the Highlanders were far from their best on the day, ultimately their courageous defence and superiority at lineout time were key contributing factors to a deserved victory, while Smith ran the show with composure.
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