Six dropped players again available

The six Highlanders players dropped from selection for last week’s match have earned their way back into consideration for this Saturday night’s game.

But they may struggle to see any game time.

Highlanders players Sione Misiloi, Josh Ioane, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Sio Tomkinson were all made unavailable by management for last Friday night’s game against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

They were deemed by coach Tony Brown to have not met team standards.

It is believed the half dozen players had made noise at Ioane’s house to which noise control officers were called.

The side shrugged off the distractions on the paddock created by the dropping and went out and defeated the Crusaders 33-12 to breathe life back into the Highlanders’ campaign.

Highlanders assistant coach Clarke Dermody said yesterday the players had been working their way back into consideration for the side.

"As Tony said last week, they have to earn their way back in. For them it is about earning the trust of the boys again. The are doing it. They have put their heads down and started working," he said.

"They are all available for selection but it is up to the coaches and the leaders if they have earned that spot.

"The boys did well who came in. They were given an opportunity and pretty much nailed it."

Realistically, Tomkinson may be the only player to get the call-up as his replacement, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, broke his arm in the game against the Crusaders and is gone for the season.

Ioane will not unseat Mitch Hunt at first five-eighth as Hunt is in fine form while fullback Connor Garden-Bachop had a great game and would be hard to drop.

Mikaele-Tu’u could come back into the reckoning although Japanese forward Kazuki Himeno was another stand-out last week at No 8.

Ben-Nicholas and Misiloi have not played this season while Lienert-Brown is out with a broken arm.

The Chiefs venture to Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.

Dermody said the Chiefs have started well against the Highlanders in last few games so the Highlanders had to be on the ball right from the start.

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