Highlanders

Highlanders agree on month long drinks ban

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The Highlanders have vowed to stay away from alcohol for one month as they look to qualify for the Super Rugby play-offs for the first time since 2003.


The Highlanders are currently in South Africa preparing to play the Cheetah in Bloemfontein and captain Jamie Mackintosh says the players and management have made the vow.


That means that the Highlanders will go without alcohol until after their round 12 game against the Hurricanes in Dunedin.


“We just decided as a team during the bye week that the next four weeks were going to be pretty big for us, with the Blues at home, the Cheetahs and Sharks and then the Hurricanes,” Mackintosh said.


“Last year we came back from the bye and dropped games and we didn’t want to have any excuses there,” he told Faifax.


“The team and management got together and decided.”


Last season the Highlanders were in contention for the play offs at the half way point in Super Rugby but they went on to lose their six of their last seven matches with dropped them out of contention for the play offs.


Mackintosh said the alochol ban was a big call from the Highlanders, especially in South Africa.


“The management and team have bought into it. It’s not so much about the alcohol, it’s about the team buying into something, sacrificing something together so that we are really focussed for the next four weeks,” he said.


“When I’m lying in my bed in nine or 10 weeks time, whether we made the play-offs or not, we know that we gave it our all. “


“It’s got its challenges, but hopefully the cherry at the end is worth more than a couple of beers with tea.”


“You don’t go out and have a big night but you do enjoy a beer with tea. It’s a great place to socialise and have a beer after a hard days’ training.”


Mackintosh said that it was unlikely that the ban would go beyond the Hurricanes game, especially with All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore who has a reputation for enjoying a quiet ale.


“Not all season, that would drive Horey into early retirement I think,” Mackintosh joked.


Meanwhile,Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has revealed that fullback Ben Smith had recovered from concussion and is available to play against the Cheetahs.


If Smith does come into the team Tamati Ellison will most likely slot back into the midfield.

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