Sixth Place in Sight: Highlanders Prepare for Key Match with Drua

h 00153406 1

Should the Rebels lose to the Brumbies on Friday in Canberra, a win for the Highlanders would lift them to sixth and give them a buffer for the final round when the Drua, who are one point behind the Highlanders in eighth place, host the Rebels in Fiji.

It is also the Highlanders' last home game, and a win with a bonus point would take some pressure off them in their final game against the Hurricanes. 

Assistant coach Kendrick Lynn said the Highlanders knew what the Drua could do despite their away record. 

"The Drua start well and can be in the hunt, and are a dangerous team.

"They've got one of the best scrums in the competition, statistically. Traditionally, you might think of Fijian teams as pure flair or off-the-cuff, but we know they've been coached well over these last few years. Eighteen of them have been in the Fijian World Cup squad.

"They've got good experience, good players, who now have the set piece on their side. They're a more complete team and dangerous, and they'll be coming motivated.

"When the game becomes unstructured, that's when they are their most dangerous."

The Highlanders are hopeful that first five-eighths Cameron Millar will be available for selection. He is going through HIA protocols after leaving the field with a bleeding nose in Auckland against the Blues and failing an HIA.

Midfield back Tanielu Tele'a, who has a suspected knee injury, will likely be out longer as he awaits a scan.

Their injuries disrupted the backline, forcing players out of position when they were chasing the game. They eventually lost 13-47 to the competition leaders.

"We were down points, and that looked like throwing it wide. We were more lateral than we had been because the first half was going well.

"Even though we were down on the scoreboard, we were in the fight. We put them under pressure.

"The kicking game was working well but the disruption to the backline meant we were disjointed in our attack."