Dangerous charge puts Hames in doubt for Rebels

The Highlanders may be without prop Kane Hames for Friday's game against the Melbourne Rebels after he was cited for a dangerous charge following Saturday's 30-12 loss to the Blues in Auckland.

Hames drove into Blues lock Hayden Triggs at a ruck in the 59th minute of the game and was later cited by the Sanzar citing commissioner.

The citing will be considered by judicial officer Jannie Lubbe, with the Highlanders facing a short turnaround before they take on the Rebels in Dunedin on Friday.

It was a bruised and battered team which flew home to Dunedin yesterday after being overpowered in the second half at Eden Park.

The game featured several high impact clashes, including one which saw Lima Sopoaga and Patrick Osborne smash into each other when trying to stop a try.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph was left ruing a significant turnaround from his team's first round win over the Blues in Dunedin.

"We didn't get any rewards points-wise for our efforts in the first half. There were a couple of opportunities there, a forward pass amongst a well-rehearsed move which prevented us getting the seven points and then they got a cheap try and got their tails up."

The Blues scored either side of halftime to take hold of the game and then the Highlanders gave away too many penalties in the second half when they started chasing the scoreboard.

Players like Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa were closely marked by the Blues, and they grew frustrated trying to get the Highlanders going with limited space to work with.

"Defensively they put us under a lot of pressure in the second half," Joseph said.

The Highlanders will now back up against a Rebels team which scored a significant 32-24 victory over the Brumbies on Friday night.

"They aren't a team who are going to give in," Joseph said.

"We've got a short turnaround, there won't be a lot of time to sulk and carry on and I don't think we've got those sorts of players. We need to freshen up, recover well and then go out and perform."

The Southland Times