Fekitoa in doubt for Highlanders clash with Blues

The Highlanders could play their final regular season Super Rugby match against the Blues this weekend without All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa.

Fekitoa was one of three All Blacks rested last week but the Highlanders have now revealed that he is nursing a groin problem and could sit out this weekend.

The All Black mid-fielder was forced from the field in the Highlanders 36-9 victory over the Chiefs in Invercargill two weeks ago with the groin injury and it is unclear whether he has fully recovered.

“He looks OK but whether he plays or not is going to be a 50-50 call. We’ll see,” Joseph told The Southland Times.

While the Highlanders have already qualified for the play offs they have the potential to earn home advantage in the qualification round next week if they overtake the Chiefs in the standings.

Highlanders coach said that even though they will start the match against the Blues as favourites he is wary of the Auckland side as they will be saying goodbye to a number of players such as Keven Mealamu.

.”We all know it’s an important game, but it is one of four important games coming up for us. The team needs to get back on track. We need to perform, we need to prepare well for the playoffs,” he said.

“Getting in a good performance against a Blues team which has nothing to lose is important – and they are playing for their skipper and a player that has put in a lot of service, so it’s going to be a big one for us. There is a lot of respect there for those players because we have been there in that position in 2013.

“The boys are ready to preform up there.”

The Highlanders suffered their worst loss of the season last week but they were missing All Blacks Fekitoa, Ben Smith and Aaron Smith against the Hurricanes and coach Joseph sayd that he has not be dwelling on the loss.

“I’ve moved on,” he said.

“We had players there who hadn’t played a lot of rugby. Scotty Eade went from playing club rugby in Invercargill to marking one of the best halfbacks in the game. “

“So what would staying on that game have meant to us? What would we have learned if we had dwelled on that game for another couple of days?”

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