Pryor keeping an eye on tackle approaches

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Lynn McConnell     16 Feb 2017     Getty Images

With high tackles being the subject of attention from referees this year adjustments will be vital, especially during the early stages of the competition which starts next Thursday.

Pryor, who has been rehabilitating after ACL surgery, said tackling had a lot to do with the type of person making the tackle.

"I've always been a chop tackler where I go round the legs because I've always been smaller and I've had to, but guys like Elliot Dixon, who likes to put in shots…it's going to be interesting to see how it goes.

"I think they're already prepping for a couple of yellow cards. It's just the mindset, it is going to happen because they're [referees] going to be really diligent. The way some guys tackle with their chest first or their shoulders around other people's shoulders is hard to change a routine when you've been doing it for so many years," he said.

The instance of players being caught in situations where opponents were falling as a tackle went in and were not deliberately making a high tackle had been a 50-50 call in the past but now it was going to be a penalty.

While he hasn't been involved in contact training with the Highlanders, Pryor has been around the 2017 squad enough to assess progress under new coach Tony Brown.

He was not really that different to what the team experienced under Jamie Joseph, he said. Brown had been involved for some years and everyone knew his style.

"He's a bit more laidback than Jamie was but it makes no real difference," he said.

"Guys like Mark Reddish and Josh Hohneck are big losses but we've got some good boys coming through. Tevita Li has come down from the Blues and he's looking pretty sharp and he'll be looking pretty hard for a spot."

And Marty Banks was back in after Hayden Parker blew his ACL and was a good man to have in back-up.

"The biggest thing with the success we've had over the last couple of years is that we have more All Blacks and Maori All Blacks so pre-season this year, earlier on, was a bit different as we had 17 guys not in training. We only really started to get into it in mid-January when everyone was back together again.

"But with the Highlanders it is good, you just come back and you feel like you are home again, it's sweet as," he said.