Highlanders look to rebound against Jaguares
“We’re really mindful of the strengths they possess and I suppose us getting smacked on the nose by not being at the intensity we needed to be last week is at the forefront of our minds as well so that’s a good thing because we know what’s coming,” he said.
The main feature of the Highlanders’ selection for the game is the long awaited return of blindside flanker Liam Squire. He will make his appearance from the bench.
“He has trained well over the last few weeks and got his level of fitness to where we need it. It is exciting to bring him back into the mix.
“With how long he has been out for, and still getting his fitness levels up to the level required, it was probably best for him to have 20-30 minutes off the bench.
“He is obviously pretty frustrated at the season he has had so far. He is pretty damaging when he is not frustrated, to be fair. I’m expecting him to be at his physical best when he takes the field,” Mauger said.
“He has just got to do his role but I’m sure he’ll bring the intensity that he brings to the game. That’s something we need, I thought we lacked that intensity when we really needed it last week so it will be nice to inject him into the game later on.”
Mauger said there were more factors to Squire’s game than just his power, he was a thinking rugby player who understood the game.
“We like him to use his raw strength when it is on but we also back him to use those subtleties in his game as well.”
Mauger said the Highlanders hadn’t showed enough respect to the Chiefs late in the game and they had been burned as a consequence.
“The intensity wasn’t where it needed to be, the intensity off the bench wasn’t where it needed to be. We expect those guys to come on and inspire their teammates in that last 20 minutes with their actions and they didn’t do that. We need to be better there this week,” he said.
Another player to make his first appearance will be wing Jordan Hyland who was brought into the side as injury cover. The Northlander filled the same role with the Blues last season.
“He’s been really impressive. He has done everything we have asked of him. He is a big, physical man in the wide channels and no-nonsense sort of footy player. I thought our intensity in the wide channels could have been a bit better with our collision carrying the ball and he will certainly bring that this weekend,” Mauger said.