Mauger says the Lions will pose a clear and present danger in Dunedin
Highlanders coach and former All Black centre Aaron Mauger says the Lions will pose a clear and present danger in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Highlanders and the Lions lock horns on the back of contrasting but demoralising losses against the Sharks in Durban and the Hurricanes in Wellington.
The Highlanders were played off King's Park by a Sharks side that seemingly peaks its intensity when facing a New Zealand foe.
On the other hand‚ the Lions produced a distinctly absent-minded performance on their Australasian tour.
After their 29-0 harassment of the Waratahs‚ they've slumbered through defeats against the Reds and the Hurricanes.
While Swys de Bruin's side had a reasonable eight-point buffer at the top of the South African conference‚ they're seven points behind overall Super Rugby log leaders and defending champions the Crusaders.
“The Lions have been like the Sharks‚" Mauger said.
"They've played some really good footy and they've also played some footy where they haven't been as consistent as they've wanted to be.
"I think they're going to be a dangerous side under the roof in Dunedin because they like to run with the ball and throw it around.
“They've just come off a loss against the Hurricanes‚ so I think they're going to be a dangerous side and I think they're going to be at their best.
"We also have to be at our best so it's going to be a cracking match.”
The Highlanders still have a pretty reasonable log position but the cannibalistic New Zealand conference means matches against Australian and South African foes have to be won at all costs.
While the Highlanders did well to win against the Bulls in Pretoria‚ points missed aren't points that can be regained.
This is something Mauger is aware of and knows the Lions are also ripe for the picking.
“To put it in the context of the season‚ the Sharks game was a missed opportunity for us to perform well and put the Sharks under a bit more pressure and come back with an outcome that we were more happy with‚” Mauger said.
“It is a good lesson but in the context of the season‚ that's hurt us a little bit but we're in control of what happens next and that's the Lions.
"We're looking forward to preparing for that one.”