Highlanders Seek Redemption: A Look Ahead to Force Clash

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Coach Clarke Dermody said there would be changes to the team that went scoreless in the 0-31 loss to the Reds in Brisbane at the weekend.

"We've got some guys back home that are returning to the team, so they'll be hungry to show, and that's what I'll be looking for from them.

"It is tough to take. We came to Australia to get points, and we didn't get any."

Dermody was especially disappointed with the start of the game.

"We had a big focus in the first 20 minutes and we didn't execute what we were after."

They wanted quick ball from the breakdown to create pressure, but they could not achieve that.

"That ball was quite slow, making it hard to stay on top of the Reds. And when we did have real opportunities, we would cough the ball up under pressure.

"When you're not putting scoreboard pressure on, it becomes really hard."

Dermody said the players were ready for opportunities, had been training well from the start, and had a good level of ability.

"We're trying to grow depth in our team and used the whole squad on tour. I just put it down to the start of this game.

"In the first half, we were under 40 per cent possession and territory and a penalty count of eight or nine, making it hard to put any pressure on any team.

"We're a proud team, and the challenge now is down to the boys to compete. We got out-competed by the Reds.

"You could see in the collision and the speed they started the game that our competition wasn't quite there. That is something that is quite personal to rugby players."

The Reds controlled the kicking game well, and the Highlanders compounded their successful use of that tactic by conceding penalties.

"We couldn't slow their ball down, then, couldn't get guys on the ball because we were under a yellow card warning, so therefore they get front foot ball and they're a dangerous team with pretty powerful ball carriers."