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'There's a chance to do something special' —Highlanders determined to book finals spot

The Highlanders say they are up for the challenge of defeating the Brumbies in Canberra and book their spot in the final of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

Michael Collins runs with the ball against the Waratahs. Source: Photosport

The Dunedin franchise remain unbeaten through four games and sit in second place on the table with 18 points — level on points with the Crusaders and one point behind the Blues — going into the final round of fixtures this weekend.

The Highlanders crushed the Waratahs 59-23 on Saturday, without the services of Aaron Smith and Shannon Frizell, giving them plenty of confidence they can do it all again against the Brumbies.

Their task is simple — win, and win well in Canberra, and their place in the final is confirmed.

But they understand it won't come easy. The Brumbies held out the Hurricanes on Saturday for a 12-10 victory, just the second by an Australian side in the competition.

"We're under no illusions of what the challenge is," Highlanders centre Michael Collins said today.

"I think all the players realise that there’s a chance to do something special so for us we don’t need to go chase points or chase tries. If we play the gameplan we’re given it’ll happen."

The Highlanders will play the second game of the weekend, meaning the Crusaders and Blues will know what they will need to do to secure a spot in the final when they take to the field on Saturday.

However, Collins believes being able to play first gives the Highlanders the advantage.

"If we start to get worked up about other results, we’ll start to get messy. I think it’s good we’re playing one of the first games.

"Knowing what you have to do will probably create a lot of scoreboard pressure. If we play good enough rugby we’ll play well and get the points we need."

Assistant coach Riki Flutey said all players were available to play against the Brumbies on Friday.