Highlanders ready for 'massive' Stormers

06 March 2018 07:20:55 EST

The Highlanders have been warned they face a route-one approach from the Stormers in Dunedin at the weekend.

The Otago franchise, who won their opening game of the campaign against the Blues, had an early bye in week three of the Super Rugby season and have had extra time to prepare to take on the Stormers.

We're pretty confident they will try to come through the front door and there will be some route-one rugby.

Glenn Delaney

And defence coach Glenn Delaney, who watched the South African side lose 45-28 to the Crusaders in Christchurch at the weekend, is sure the visitors will be emphasising the physical game at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"It's as close to a Roman combat sport as you're going to get in the modern age," said Delaney after watching Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff attempting to pummel the Crusaders by repeatedly using his 120kg frame as a battering ram.

The Crusaders were able to come out on top on the scoreboard, but they lost first-five Richie Mo'unga who had his jaw broken in a collision with Kitschoff.

Delaney says the South Africans are some of the biggest players he's seen, adding: "They're massive and they like to play to that strength. So we're pretty confident they will try to come through the front door and there will be some route-one rugby.

"They kept the ball through 15 phases to score against the Crusaders. Defence has to be brutal, it's a part of the game that I love, and certainly our boys do too."

The defence coach says the team are working hard on their technique to make sure they can cope with the Stormers' physicality.

"It's a fine line, you make sure the technique is intact with the physicality. You get the two things right and you can be pretty effective," he added.

The Highlanders are 9/1 to win the Super Rugby final.

The Highlanders are 11/100 to beat the Stormers, who are 11/2.

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