Reds clash could be season defining for the Highlanders

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Highlanders assistant coach Kendrick Lynn said there was a lot of frustration over their loss, and it was helpful being in camp on the Gold Coast so they could get on top of that frustration, review it quickly, and make the required repairs.

"I think we can do better. The players, everyone we've got, we're taking ownership of that, and we're working hard.

"We're having good honest conversations. The guys are training well. What we need to see is for that to translate on to the field."

Having conceded high scores in their last two games, Lynn said the issues they were facing were not just confined to their defence.

"We can be better. We know we can. But I wouldn't put these results down to that.

"It's a combination of everything.

"Often, in rugby, how you can attack can affect the defence and vice versa. We are working hard on that, and there are things we can do better, but it's a general mindset about how we want to play."

Lynn said that when they walked off the field after their games, whether they had won or lost, they wanted to be competitive and represent their region as they felt they should, and they could do a lot better in that regard.

"We've been doubling down on what we can do well and who we are. We're trying to simplify everything so the guys can play a lot freer and play with more confidence and belief in themselves.

The side could be bolstered by a return from midfield back Tanielu Tele'a after completing his suspension. They are also assessing centre Jonah Lowe's knee injury. It was still swollen on Monday, and whether he would be available for Friday's game was unclear.

Whether rookie first five-eighths Ajay Faleafaga has his second start or Cam Millar starts would be decided later.

Lynn said Faleafaga controlled the game well and used his kicking game.

"It wasn't too bad for a guy in his first start in a team that wasn't always going forward. He's got work-ons, like a lot of the guys, but he's showing enough promise that we can grow him."


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