They went to Hamilton with their heads held high, but the Highlanders could not best the Chiefs, who notched up a 21-19 victory on Saturday night.
It wasn't as electric as the first round win over the Blues, but the Highlanders looked like a different team than the one that limped through last season's Super Rugby season.
The Highlanders have kicked off the 2014 Super Rugby season in style with an exciting 29-21 win over the Auckland Blues.
It was a see-saw battle, but Southland claimed the scalp of neighbour Otago by 38-32 to take the Donald Stuart Memorial back to Invercargill.
An 11-try spectacle has placed Tony Brown's young Otago side back on track, the home side came out on top by 52-41 over Manawatu in Dunedin on Friday night.
Otago have brought the Ranfurly Shield back to Dunedin after 56 years, putting in a spirited and hard-fought effort to beat Waikato by 26-19 in Hamilton on Friday.
Following a comprehensive 47-29 drubbing by the All Blacks, Australian turned their eyes to the coaching box, only to remember they can no longer blame a New Zealander for their own short-comings.
Otago beat Bay of Plenty 32-29 and in the process held a near perfect kicking clinic in Dunedin on Sunday afternoon as they opened their ITM campaign.
It has been the hot topic in rugby circles around the country for months now, but we are no closer to discovering where Ma'a Nonu will play his rugby at franchise level next year.
The French are a lot like Auckland weather - you can research recent patterns all you like, but you won't know what you are getting until the day.
If every cloud has a silver lining, the Highlanders certainly found theirs among the storm-cloud that has been their 2013 season, beating the Blues 38-28.
There is no point going back to the drawing board when you are fresh out of chalk.
Another week goes by and the Highlanders have another tick in the loss column. After watching the game against the Brumbies on Friday night and then the highlights again on Saturday morning I must say, I felt depressed.
It has been well documented over the past few weeks that the Highlanders seem to be in trouble. They have now lost six in a row and head into Friday night's match against the Brumbies down on confidence and troops.
This weekend the Highlanders will take on the Blues at Eden Park in a battle of the two lowest teams on the New Zealand conference ladder.
I'll be honest - I didn't watch the full game on Friday night against the Chiefs. I opted for the 20min highlight package on Saturday.
Brad Thorn and Kade Poki celebrate a try against the Cheetahs - but moments to celebrate have been rare this season. (Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images) Are the Highlanders going to be this season's version of the 2012 Blues?
It seems it is going to take longer than most anticipated for the big name Highlanders players to gel in this year's Super Rugby Competition.
The Cheetahs were gifted five valuable competition points after capitalising on a woeful performance from the Highlanders, walking away from Invercargill deserved winners by 36-19.
Super Rugby has officially kicked off in New Zealand and what a game it was to open up with.