Fekitoa only getting better

Under pressure to perform ahead of the All Blacks and British and Irish Lions series in winter, Fekitoa scored two tries in his team's 51-12 romp against the Melbourne Rebels in Dunedin on Friday night. 

The 24-year-old wasn't perfect - there were still a couple of frustrating handling errors - but there were enough signs for Coach Tony Brown to believe he's on the right track. 

"I think he was a little bit underdone in those first few games," Brown said. "But all the All Blacks were. It's hard for the All Blacks to come back and play good footy straight away.

Lima Sopoaga’s brother to make his debut for the Highlanders

Sopoaga, the brother of All Blacks and Highlanders first-five eighth Lima, has been named on the bench for the team's round six match against the winless Melbourne Rebels.

After struggling for game time, the 24-year-old former Cronulla Shark and Penrith Panther gave up league and returned to rugby union late last year in Australia's domestic competition.

The loose forward signed to play for the Southland Stags a few weeks ago, and was promptly snapped up by the Highlanders, whose loose forward stocks have been depleted by injury. 

Highlanders hooker re-signs

The 27-year-old rake has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the Highlanders for two more years, joining team mate Ben Smith in re-committing to the Dunedin-based team this year.

The Highlanders confirmed Coltman, who made his test debut during the All Blacks' 68-10 win against Italy in Rome last November, opted to extend his time with the team via social media on Tuesday.

"I absolutely love Dunedin, love the place, can't get enough of it," Coltman said in a video posted by the team.

Smith admits he should have taken time off after toilet tryst

Smith will this week celebrate playing his 100th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders when they take on the Melbourne Rebels in Dunedin.

He received a formal warning and stood down from an All Blacks test in October after he was seen entering a toilet cubical with a woman at Christchurch Airport.

He later said he made a huge mistake and apologised to his partner, both his and her families, his teammates and New Zealand fans.

Smith struggled on the All Blacks end of year tour.

Highlanders come back in Canberra

Trailing for most of a match that made up for a lack of quality with plenty of commitment, replacement Highlanders prop Aki Seiuli barrelled over under the posts in the 73rd minute for a converted try that proved to be the difference.

The Brumbies then set about utilising their favourite attacking ploy, the driving maul off a lineout, in a frantic finale, but the visitors held firm on three occasions to either draw a penalty or force a turnover to keep their lead intact.

Hurricanes wallop Highlanders

The 2016 champions ran in seven tries to two against their injury-ravaged opponents, who struggled to make inroads through makeshift first-five Fletcher Smith.

The decision to play Ardie Savea at No.8 paid dividends as the Test loose forward claimed a try and seven tackles, while the physical midfield duo of Ngani Laumape and Matt Proctor stood out.

They'll take a week off before travelling to Brisbane to take on the Reds, while the Highlanders will lick their wounds before tussling with the Brumbies.

Malakai Fekitoa finding his stride

In fact, the 24-year-old, 23-test centre has a good feeling about what lies around the corner, both for himself and the southern franchise that on Saturday night scraped out a much-needed first victory of the Super Rugby season on Eden Park against the Blues.

Highlanders survive late pressure to beat Blues 16-12

Test centre Malakai Fekitoa's 18th-minute effort on the right edge was the only try in the four-point triumph, as both sides struggled in the Auckland wet.

Balls were dropped left, right and centre by both teams, while the Highlanders conceded 18 turnovers and the Blues gave up 23.

But the injury-ravaged Highlanders eventually ground out the win, relying on the kicking game of playmakers Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith to guide them home.

"It's just an awesome effort from the boys," skipper Elliot Dixon said.

Blues call up their ABs

Having used a talent-stacked bench without fruition against the Chiefs last week after being reduced to 14 men for more than half the game, Coach Tana Umaga has given his stars a chance from the opening whistle in this key Kiwi derby.

Co-captains James Parsons and Jerome Kaino are named in the pack that also sees prop Charlie Faumuina and lock Patrick Tuipulotu in the starting eight.

There's a further change in the forwards with North Harbour newcomer Murphy Taramai to make his first Super Rugby start at No 8, meaning Akira Ioane drops to the bench.

Highlanders injury list grows

Emery's injury occurred while playing for the Highlanders second string team the Bravehearts against the Crusader Knights in the curtain-raiser to Saturday night's match.

He will miss the entire as he rehabs the injury post-surgery.

Emery joins first five-eighth Hayden Parker on the sideline for 2017 and continues a horror run of injuries for the Highlanders.