Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph admits his team were well beaten in their Super Rugby warm up against the Chiefs but he is relieved not to have picked up any new injuries.
The Highlanders scored a late try in the Super Rugby trial held in Taupo which added some respectability but they still finished 36-14 down.
"We got beat, no doubt about that," Joseph admitted after the trial match.
"It's pre-season, a lot of guys played and there's still a lot of guys out with injury.
"There were some things we got through - we had a look at our young guys and it's better to play those young guys with a bit of experience but for one reason or another we weren't able to do that, particularly up front."
Joseph said that he was pleased that the Highlanders managed to score two set piece tries which were an issue last year.
The coach also felt that the lineout and scrum worked well but their defence and the ability to attack from broken play will need plenty of work.
"It's nice training but we need to get out there and do a few things together (in games), and that's what pre-season is about," Joseph told Fairfax.
The Highlanders have a lengthy injury list already with as many as four loose forwards unavailable but John Hardie and Nasi Manu are expected to be back this month.
"No injuries is good news for us, considering we've got eight or nine on the sideline already," Joseph said.
The Highlanders new signing All Black midfielder Ma'a Nonu spent some time with the team last week but he used the weekend to move his family to Dunedin.
"He's a world class guy and (Tony) Woodcock is a world class guy, but they'll take time as well," Joseph said.
"We are looking at them with a view to getting things sorted out so that when we come to the start of the season we hit it running," Joseph said.
The Highlanders play another Super Rugby warm up match this Friday against the Blues in Oamaru.