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Highlanders prepare for Brumbies challenge

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

They celebrated getting back together on Monday with fitness testing and several personal bests were achieved so team management were happy with how players spent their time off.

Assistant coach Mark Hammett, who said having two early byes was not the ideal but they had known about it and that was just a fact of the draw.

But he said it was important the players got some rest while also spending time with family because now they faced eight tough weeks, with a good percentage of that on the road with the Blues a week later then two games in South Africa.

"In my experience it is a great opportunity to get away. It changes what is a long season anyway and there are just different dimensions of being away; sometimes being in the sun, sometimes being under pressure due to circumstance so I've always found it good in terms of bringing a team together," he said.

The Brumbies while having an indifferent start to the season over the last two or three weeks had shown strength in their set-piece having reverted to that and they were a strong mauling and scrummaging side and were putting their size to good use.

"We know from their [Stephen] Larkham days, particularly off their set-piece launch, they are generally very well organised so having the ability, firstly, to manage and control the set-piece and shut down that launch is pretty important," he said.

While the Highlanders had two losses before the break, Hammett said it was important to keep things in perspective.

"We felt perhaps that our territory game, or how we were managing that wasn't quite right and we were spending a bit much time between our 40m and 22m so we've had a bit of a focus on how we can manage that," he said.