Highlanders back potentially out

Highlanders midfielder Sio Tomkinson leaves the field after receiving a red card during his team...
Highlanders midfielder Sio Tomkinson leaves the field after receiving a red card during his team's match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Highlanders midfielder Sio Tomkinson is due to face a hearing tomorrow night over his red card in the match against the Chiefs, and he looks certain to spend time on the sideline.

Tomkinson was sent from the field on Friday night by referee Glen Jackson after the midfielder tackled Chiefs captain and lock Brodie Retallick in what Jackson ruled was a dangerous manner.

Tomkinson could have argued he was attempting to wrap his arms around Retallick and the lock lowered himself into the tackle.

He had the option to plead guilty at the hearing and cop the penalty, or plead not guilty and go to a full hearing.

The risk with the latter option was getting a longer ban if he was found guilty at the full hearing, which was due to be held last night but is now being held tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith, who played a leading role in the Highlanders' comeback win on Friday, says he has enjoyed his role off the bench, and it may not be the last time Smith is riding the pine.

He said on Friday night after the game it was all about the big picture and being sharp at the back end of the season.

"The coaching staff are monitoring our minutes. It seemed to work out well, coming off the bench, on the 50-minute mark.

"We know the plan going forward over the next month. Just keeping it in those short blocks. There are plans around our minutes early on ... you just have to trust the process. It is all set up for that second half of the season.

"As a player, it is hard as you always want to be there for the team but you have to trust the process and step back, take time to rest or give someone else an opportunity.

"You will never play more than four games this year in a row, which is great. There is no excuse, really, to not be in top top shape."

Smith came on in the second half and led the fightback, capping it off with the match-winning try with five minutes left.

"We said to each other we have to go for it now ... going from past experiences, when a team goes down to 14 men, the other team sometimes think, `We're going to win from here.'

"We were not really thinking about the score - just going to play in their half and back ourselves."

Smith paid credit to new halfback Folau Fakatava, who had been throwing dummies all season at training, which Smith used on Friday night to score the try.

"To get a win away from home is massive. And I can't wait to get back to the stadium with a full house, hopefully."

The Highlanders play the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night.

In other games at the weekend, the Rebels beat the Brumbies 34-27, the Crusaders beat the Blues 24-22, the Sharks beat the Sunwolves 45-10, the Hurricanes pipped the Waratahs 20-19, the Bulls thumped the Stormers 40-3, and the Lions beat the Jaguares 25-16.

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