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Highlanders 'better prepared' - Jamie Joseph
ESPN Staff
January 20, 2014

Jamie Joseph is confident about his Highlanders squad for Super Rugby 2014, even though the team finished second-last in 2013 and he has seen star players Tamati Ellison, Hosea Gear, Ma'a Nonu, Colin Slade, Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore and Jamie Mackintosh leave the franchise.

Joseph said the lack of big names in Dunedin, and the subsequent lack of All Blacks, apart from Aaron and Ben Smith, had seen the bulk of his squad together for most of the pre-season.

"That's quite pleasing in terms of our preparation," Joseph told Fairfax Media. "Whether we are good enough to play the likes of the Blues and the Chiefs is what we'll be measured on in terms of the scoreboard, but going into it we'll be better prepared than we were last year."

Joseph, meanwhile, accepted he would come under increased pressure if his team failed again even though his contract stipulates he can't be axed on team performance.

"I guess so, but I would say that's every year," he told Fairfax.

"Successful teams are measured in different ways. One of them is on the scoreboard and another is how many guys we are bringing through, guys who were no-names. With that in mind there's a hell of a lot of those [no-names] in our team this year. There's lots of reasons and lots of ways to measure the performance of a coach."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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