26 Jul 2016

Highlanders have the luxury of 8 days to prepare

8:44 am on 26 July 2016

The Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph says it's been a bit of a luxury to have 8 days to prepare for their Super Rugby semi-final against the Lions At Ellis Park this weekend.

Jamie Joseph

Jamie Joseph Photo: Photosport

The defending champions stayed in Sydney after their win over the Brumbies to find out their next opponents before starting any travel.

They're now in Johannesburg and Joseph says they have plenty of time to prepare for this game.

"Last week was a tough one, coming out of the Chiefs match after a couple of trips around South Africa and Argentina and then the short turn around to play the Chiefs."

"But this week we'll have the full eight days which is a bit of a luxury really so I think we're ahead in the travel stakes."

Joseph says their quarter-final win over the Brumbies was a bit of a hiccup but that was a good wakeup call for them ahead of the semi-finals.

After finishing the regular season with good wins over the Kings, Jaguars and Chiefs, Joseph felt they struggled in Canberra, but in hindsight says that's probably a good thing.

Joseph says they have plenty of time this week prepare, but basically it's about just getting themselves focussed.

The Highlanders beat the Lions in Dunedin this year, but lost to them in Johannesburg last year.

"The Lions are obviously on a high after the Crusaders game and their confidence is going to be quite high but as I say regularly we are a very us focussed team."

"There's not a lot we can do after 8 months on the grind so we'll have two of three trainings this week where we really want to be positive about our rugby."

"We've be training and playing all year, we know how we want to play the game, it's just about going out there and playing our style of footy and that's what we're looking forward to."

The Highlanders are without prop Siosiva Halanukonuka with an ankle injury, but welcome back utility back Marty Banks this week from a hamstring injury.