Highlanders preparing for huge travel day to Perth

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They face 18-20 hours of travel on Tuesday, with transfers in Auckland and Sydney. That demanding schedule led to a concentration on their recovery protocols after their first-round win over the Reds.


Highlanders assistant coach Riki Flutey said after their win over the Reds, the concentration had been on their recovery with their travel to Perth to play the Force in mind. That was down to individual recovery, getting into a pool and eating and sleeping well, so they were ready to get into action on Monday in their preparation.


However, being away meant they could spend more time with each other, he said.


The Force had pushed the Chiefs all the way and had the winning of their first game if their final conversion attempt had been successful. The Highlanders noticed the Chiefs had been loose in parts of their game and were keen to avoid repeating similar mistakes.


The Highlanders had turned over around 31 per cent of the ball against the Reds. They aimed to have less than 17 per cent as their target, something they achieved in their wins over the Crusaders and Blues.


The set-piece had performed well in the face of the perceived threat from the Reds, he said.



“They've got some quality players, quality athletes and they play some pretty exciting rugby.”

Riki Flutey


The side was also hopeful that Josh Ioane would be available after recovering from an ankle sprain.


Hooker Liam Coltman said the Highlanders would be looking at their own game before worrying too much about the Force.


"It's a tough competition and while I know the results show the New Zealand teams won, it is whoever turns up on the week, similar to the first half of the competition with the New Zealand teams. Everyone has got to be on their best performance," he said.


While his role this year has been as the backup hooker to captain Ash Dixon, Coltman said he was happy with his role if that meant the team could get some more wins.


"It took a while to get used to it, it's definitely a different style of game you have got to play but you have to remember to go out there and do your job and not to go too far out of the system to try and make an impact on the game. All you have got to do is do your own role really well," he said.



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