Joseph: Discipline must lift
Sportal.co.nz 17 May 2012 Getty Images
"Our discipline will need to be spot on," Joseph said. "A lot of it is to do with trying too hard. It's been a bit of a disappointment.
"We've beaten ourselves a lot of the time. The only team which has really beaten us has been the Stormers."
The Highlanders have won seven of their 11 matches and have 35 points, a respectable record.
But that pales compared with the Bulls who have won eight from 10 games and head the table with 46 points.
The Highlanders have lost their last two matches but Joseph is determined that the season will not be a repeat of last year when they won only one of their last seven games.
"We're the highest line-breaking team in the competition, we're fourth or fifth in the lineouts, we're fourth or fifth on attack and we're third defensively.
"In terms of how we play and what we do, we're right on the money. In terms of clearing the final hurdle, that's let us down in recent weeks. We need everyone to lift their efforts and accuracy by five percent."
Joseph said the return of regular captain Jamie Mackintosh, who was rested last week against the Hurricanes, should be beneficial to the cause.
"We gave Jamie a break last week so that he could once again be the player he was at the start of the season. He'll be influential at the weekend, no doubt about it."
Loose forwards Nasi Manu and Adam Thomson did not train on Wednesday because of leg injuries and Joseph has his fingers crossed both will be for to play the Bulls.
"A lot of it is to do with us training on soft grounds now after coming from the hard grounds of South Africa. We hope they'll both be fine when it comes to Saturday."
The Highlanders have called in Tim Boys, Scott Fuglistaller and Hoani MacDonald as loose forward reinforcements.
Joseph said there was a lot of pleasure in the squad at the inclusion of Andrew Hore, Thomson, Aaron and Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison.
"But there were a number of players who put their hands up and didn't get selected. Everyone's feeling for those guys who didn't make it."
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