Destiny is in the hands of the Highlanders

Because the Force, who play Moana Pasifika and then the Hurricanes, are still within striking distance of knocking the Highlanders out of the top eight, there will be pressure to perform against the Rebels in Melbourne.


Coach Tony Brown did not attempt to hide his disappointment at Sunday's loss.


"We've definitely got to win [in Melbourne]. Our destiny is in our hands. We need a performance," he said.


"It was just really frustrating for us as a team to go backwards so far after we had been building quite nicely.


"We started really well, and then, after about 10 minutes, we didn't quite do enough right.



"We gave away soft penalties, a red card, and then couldn't retain the ball," he said.


They had their preparation affected with illness and changes to the team, and he felt that contributed to the display.


"There's a lot of 'flu going around our team, and small injuries that kept guys out of the game but hopefully they will be ready for next week," he said.


Compounding the disappointments was the red card to first five-eighths Sam Gilbert are only a quarter of the game. With a suspension likely, and Mitch Hunt suffering concussion issues that wouldn't be determined until later in the week, they would have only Marty Banks, with Vilimoni Koroi as a back-up, in the position for the final round.


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