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Chiefs keen to break Highlanders hoodoo

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

Dave Rennie. © Rex Images Dave Rennie. The Chiefs are looking to rewrite history as they chase their first win over the Highlanders in almost three years on Friday night in Dunedin.

The southern men have had the measure of their northern rivals and chalked up six wins on the trot, including 26-13 and 25-15 victories in 2016.

Chiefs boss Dave Rennie told reporters on Monday he was keen to put a stop to his side's Highlanders hoodoo.

"The New Zealand games are so tough and you have good runs against certain sides and other sides may have the wood on you," Rennie said.

"They have been arm wrestles and tight affairs.

"We won't be reflecting on history because it really counts for nothing - it's what we put on the park on Friday that counts."

On the personnel front, co-captain Sam Cane is battling an ankle problem and may miss the trip south, with a final decision to be made on Wednesday.

If the All Blacks openside doesn't recover in time, either Mitch Karpik or Lachlan Boshier will take his place at No.7.

Test midfielder Charlie Ngatai, meanwhile, remains on the sidelines with long-term concussion problems.

Rennie said he wasn't expecting the Highlanders to deviate from their traditional game plan, despite bringing in new boss Tony Brown.

All Blacks guns Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga would continue to guide the side around the park, aided by newly-contracted skipper Ben Smith.

But there may be one or two tactical tweaks that require attention.

"What we know with the Highlanders is they have an outstanding kick-chase game and they can put you under a lot of pressure," Rennie said.

"You've got to go 80 minutes against them and you have to hold onto the ball and build some pressure, so that's been a bit of a focus.

"We will be looking to expose them in different areas."

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