Hunt confident in Highlanders ability to get up for Rebels clash despite travel-bubble distractions

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The pause on the travel bubble with Victoria had both sides in limbo. In a worst-case scenario, they would play the game in Sydney.


But Hunt said the tricky week they had travelling to Perth last week meant they felt better prepared to cope if they needed to travel to Sydney.


The important part was ensuring they had the right level of preparation, he said.


If the game was played in Queenstown, as scheduled, that would involve a three-hour bus trip.


Hunt said not wanting to be in the first New Zealand team to lose to one of the Australian sides did create extra pressure. But he felt maintaining good preparation would always go a long way towards preventing that.


"We've seen as a group when we get that stuff right, we've beaten the Crusaders and the Blues. It's about not having those lapses, or taking those games lightly," he said.



"If we stay true to ourselves and our game, then we've already shown we can beat anyone. So, there're no excuses for not getting that stuff right."


Hunt had enjoyed travelling again. It had been refreshing, even the 18-hour trip to Perth.


"You've been a couple of years out of playing those guys and, there's only a couple of faces you recognise.


"There're a lot of younger guys there now in the Aussie set-up and people you don't know.


"Even in terms of previewing the groups, you don't know a lot of these guys. You're trying to work out how these guys play, the style of the Aussie teams," he said.


"You're not quite sure what the intensity's going to be like on the field until you get out there."


At the same time, it was important not to put too much attention on the opposition as they still needed to prepare their own game.


The Highlanders confirmed on Wednesday NZT that they have re-signed Hunt until the end of the 2023 season, joining Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava and Shannon Frizzell in recommitting to the Highlanders until the next World Cup.




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