A chuckling Highlanders coach Tony Brown has reassured media and fans the six players stood down from last week's emphatic win over the Crusaders were punished at training as well.
All Black Josh Ioane, as well as Sione Misiloi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Patelesio Tomkinson, were all cut from the team for the Highlanders' famous victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.
It was understood the decision was made after neighbours of Ioane registered several noise complaints for a party the All Black first-five had hosted following the team's loss to the Hurricanes in Dunedin.
Brown has since recalled two of the six for Saturday's game against the Chiefs in Dunedin, with Tomkinson starting in the midfield and Ioane named on the bench.
Brown told media this afternoon the pair have earned their places after last week's hiccup.
"They're quality rugby players," Brown said.
"They were disappointed with what happened last week but it's in the past - they're going to go out, play good rugby on Saturday night and prove to everyone else that they're meant to be there."
Brown was asked how the group has proved themselves since they were stood down which got a smile out of the Highlanders coach.
"They were punished, they were punished mate, don't worry about that," Brown said.
"They had to do a bit of extra fitness, which most of the guys who don't make the 23 have got to work to keep their standards pretty high, and they were the same."