Coach Jamie Joseph believes the Highlanders’ unsettled build-up for their Super Rugby match against Queensland might work in their favour.
Coach Jamie Joseph is seeing positives in a disjointed build-up as the Highlanders prepare to bounce back from their gut-wrenching Super Rugby defeat to the Crusaders.
Already with a tight six-day turnaround, the Highlanders have been plagued by snow and ice in Dunedin and the absence of four players at the All Blacks’ training camp ahead of their trip to Brisbane to face the Queensland Reds on Friday.
“Sometimes you can over-train,” Joseph said.
“The bad weather has affected our training but maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
The Highlanders must beat the bottom-of-the-table Reds to remain in contention for the playoffs going into the June Test break.
“They’ve had the bye and I think they’ll be refreshed and waiting for us,” Joseph said.
“I think they’ll attack us so we’ll really have to play well to beat them.
“They’ve got a lot of things to prove. They’ve had a disappointing season and I think their desire levels will be really high. And it is Will Genia’s 100th game.
“We’re hanging in there at the moment,” Joseph said of the Highlanders who occupy sixth place on 36 points.
“We’re doing enough to win some games and not quite enough to win some others. We just have to get over there and get the job done. At this stage of the competition, it’s a mental challenge for the players to get up and perform.”
Joseph said he had moved on from Patrick Osborne’s disallowed try which would have given the Highlanders a last-gasp win over the Crusaders.
“Both camps said it was 50-50 but I think my guys might have thought it was 100-zero,” he said with a wry grin.
“The players realise we didn’t play as well as some people thought last weekend,” Joseph said.
“Statistically, it was our worst game of the season.
“We need to be better and more consistent, more particularly in defence.”
Liam Coltman, who missed the 32-30 defeat with a calf muscle injury, remains in doubt for the match.