Osborne recovery going well
The Highlanders go into their first bye week on the back of the news that veteran lock Brad Thorn will be sidelined for at least another three weeks with a rib injury.
Thorn, 39, injured his ribs in the Round One win over the Blues and missed this past weekend's heartbreaking 19-21 loss to the defending champions.
He looks set to miss the next two matches - against the Western Force on March 15 and the Hurricanes on March 21, both home games in Dunedin.
If his rehabilitation goes well Thorn could feature in the return encounter with the Blues in Auckland on March 29.
The good news is that Fijian wing Patrick Osborne will have recovered in time from his foot injury to face the Force.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph felt his players, branded a ''bunch of nobodies'', are learning fast.
Joseph, though disappointed to lose to the Chiefs after their win against the Blues the week before, was not too down about the defeat, and said it was a game to take the positives from.
''I have been saying this for a while now but this is a new team," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.
"There is a bunch of nobodies, some of them ... but what comes from that, is there is no baggage. They are a new group and you can see it. They played that way last week and this week. Generally when you get that right, things start to happen down below,'' he said.
''We created opportunities and I think that is the most promising thing. We created some really good attacking opportunities against a quality defence in the Chiefs. That is a promising sign for us this year.''