Highlanders’ skipper Aaron Smith says playing against the Fijian Drua in Fiji, is the hardest environment to play in.
Smith in a video shared on the All Blacks YouTube page said He said the Drua have gone through a whole pre-season together again and are able to attract more talent this Super Rugby Pacific season.
“So Highlanders v Drua is going to be an interesting game,” he said.
“Having the Drua, that game as I’ve said before is the hardest environment to play (in).
“It’s going to be an interesting game.
“Coming into their second year, and I think the Drua and Moana Pasifika will be better.
“So now we’ve got seven teams in the Pacific that are looking dangerous.”
As test veteran, he’s eager to make his mark this season against players he’ll be competing with “to wear the black jersey.”
“I think every time you play your mates, your good mates and obviously guys you’re trying to compete with to wear the black jersey as well, there’s more on the line.
“There’s individual battles, there’s spots up for grabs, and that’s what I love when the derby games roll up. It’s make or break and they’re definitely games that I earmark on the season.”
“I want to do it now and (you) can’t beat those kind of games. It’s why you play rugby is to smash your mate, try to beat them, and see where you lie.”
Smith’s Highlanders will have a chance to redeem themselves against the Blues later this month.
After sneaking into the playoffs on points difference last season, the Landers were outclassed by the Blues 35-6 at Eden Park in the quarterfinals.