Highlanders know they face different threat

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Winning momentum was halted by having to endure the Investec Super Rugby draw in their second week but Walden said the positive from the bye was the growth as a team they were able to achieve after their first-up win over the Blues.

Then they put in some hard work Monday to Wednesday before having the rest of the week to recover for the preparation this week for the Stormers.

He watched the Crusaders-Stormers game on Saturday.

"It was an exciting game, a lot of points were scored. I think the Stormers showed a lot of character to come back in that second half. They can run the ball from anywhere so they're an exciting team and we'll expect them to do the same down here at Forsyth Barr.

"We're really looking forward to the challenge. We've got a lot of good plans in place from the coaches and we're just going to do our best to execute that," he said.

Walden said he and fellow mid-fielder Thompson had made the most of their pre-season chances to work on their connections.

"We enjoy working together but it doesn't matter who it is I think whoever gets that opportunity is going to take it with two hands," he said.

It had been rewarding after all the effort that went in during the pre-season to get the starting spot at second five-eighths.

"When you're surrounded by superstars all you've got to do is focus on your own role and my focus point is to make sure I do the detail at the start of the week so I can perform at the end of the week," he said.

Assistant coach Glenn Delaney said he was impressed with the way the Stormers came back at the Crusaders after they had been down on the scoreboard early on.

"They don't give up, and they are very direct. They're going to be a big challenge and they certainly enjoy playing in dry conditions which is what they're going to have here on Friday night."

While the Stormers had X factor players in their backline, they still liked to get go-forward first and then they released their outsides.

"So we've got to be very aware of the threats they pose but all the while we want to impose our game on them and make sure that we're putting them under a lot of pressure and we like to think we can play our game in our park and that gives them a lot of problems to think about," he said.

Delaney said he had settled in well in Dunedin, it was a good town, he had good people to work with and there were interesting things to do outside of rugby.