• ‘Highlanders can beat Sharks again’

    Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph says his side believe they can win at Kings Park again on Saturday.

    The Dunedin-based franchise lost their last two league matches – 44-16 to the Waratahs in Sydney and 34-8 to the Crusaders in Christchurch – but still qualified for the play-offs for the first time since 2002. 

    While Joseph admitted 'a lot of lustre has been taken off the achievement' by the way they finished the regular season, he said they could progress further, having beaten the Sharks 34-18 in April.

    'That game is dead and gone, but the players will have in the back of their minds that they have done it, and if they've done it before they can do it again,' he said. 'But they are going to have to play a lot better than what we are playing at the moment.'

    The Highlanders will be boosted by the return of Ben Smith, who missed the Crusaders match with an infected leg, as well as hooker Brayden Mitchell (concussion) and prop Ma'afu Fia (illness).

    Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Image

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    Simon Borchardt