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Home ground gets Cowan pumped
Having emerged unscathed from his comeback game last weekend Jimmy Cowan is now intent on leading the Highlanders to victory over the Chiefs at Invercargill.
The All Blacks scrumhalf sprained his right elbow early in the season opener against the Brumbies but returned to play a crucial role in last weekend’s win over the Crusaders.
“I’m looking forward to running the boys out in front of my home crowd with the maroon strip on, it will be a special moment for me,” said Cowan.
“I’m sure we’ll get the crowd in behind us and, if you get 10,000 into the ground in Invercargill, it gets very loud. We’re looking forward to getting down there.”
Cowan knows it will not be easy to beat the Chiefs for the first time since 2003.
“We haven’t beaten them for more than five years. That’s a bit disturbing and it’s something we’re going to have to try to rectify this week. They’ve got some class players across the board.
“They’ve got good ball carriers, a big loose forward trio and plenty of threats in the backs. We’re going to have to be on our guard to stop them. I imagine they’ll play the game a bit wider than the Crusaders.”
There are three changes to the side that beat the Crusaders with loose forwards Tim Boys, Steven Setephano and midfielder Johnny Leota replacing Alando Soakai, George Naoupu and Jayden Hayward.
Israel Dagg, who is recovering from a leg injury, has been bracketed at fullback with Ben Smith.
Highlanders - Israel Dagg/Ben Smith, Ben Smith/Kendrick Lynn, Jason Shoemark, Johnny Leota, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Daniel Bowden, Jimmy Cowan (C), Steven Setephano, Tim Boys, Adam Thomson, Hayden Triggs, Josh Bekhuis, Clint Newland, David Hall, Chris King.
Subs – Jason Rutledge, Anthony Perenise, Tom Donnelly, George Naoupu, Sean Romans, Matthew Berquist, Kendrick Lynn/Jayden Hayward.