Joseph : Highlanders can win Super Rugby title

Jamie Joseph has been appointed as Japan coach

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph believes that after his team beat the Chiefs 36-9 at Rugby Park in Invercargill this could be the Highlanders year to win their first Super Rugby title.

The Highlanders have all but assured themselves of a play in the play offs and when asked how far the Highlanders can go in 2015 Joseph confidently responded, “We can go all the way.”

“There is two games to go, but if you look at the competition, this team has beaten all of the teams really,” Joseph told Stuff.

The Highlanders have two matches left – against the Hurricanes and the Blues – and the first thing on Joseph’s mind is cementing their place in the play offs and booking a home play off.

On 48 points the Highlanders could still lose both of their matches and still qualify but Joseph says that reaching the knock out stage and playing at home is vital for the Highlanders as an organisation.

“We are a business that really has no money, but we have a stadium to die for,” he said.

“So if we can get another win it will probably get us there. Otherwise we will probably have to jump on a plane and head back to South Africa.”

Next week the Highlanders will take on the Hurricanes on Friday and Joseph has confirmed that they will have to do it without his trio of All Blacks – Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa.

If the Highlanders can’t beat the Hurricanes next week they will still have the chance to book a home play off against the Blues in Auckland.

“I wouldn’t rest them if I didn’t have to, I don’t want to change the momentum,” Joseph said.

“But that’s something that everyone has brought into and I do understand the reason why.

“I think we will benefit over the long-term. In terms of a quarterfinal having those players have a breather we will only reap the rewards.”

Fekitoa was forced to leave the field in the second half during the match against the Chiefs so the week off will give him the chance to rest his groin injury.

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