The Highlanders are likely to lose one of their stars but will welcome back another as the side stops in Perth to face a resurgent Force on Saturday.

The Highlanders will welcome the return of All Black Lima Sopoaga after making history when they scored a 17-10 win over the Bulls in a damp Pretoria this weekend.

The win was the side's seventh in a row, a record for the franchise.

With other teams around them losing or not playing, the Highlanders now sit comfortably in seventh place, but there are still plenty of games left for it slide up or down the table.


Highlanders coach Tony Brown said it was a real effort to score the seven wins in a row after a start where the side lost three of its first four games.

''I can't remember the last time we came to South Africa and won both of the games. To get the seven wins in a row and set a record is massive for this team.

''We've put ourselves in a good position going into the last quarter of the competition. If we can keep our momentum going then who knows what we can do?''

The Highlanders head to Perth and will be boosted by the inclusion of first five-eighth
Sopoaga. He has been out since March 11, when he strained a hamstring against the Blues.

Brown said Sopoaga would probably make a return off the bench against the Force.

Starting first five-eighth Marty Banks broke his nose early in the game against the Bulls and would be examined in the coming days.

Sopoaga did not play club rugby at the weekend, but Brown said the All Black had got himself in really good condition after two months off the paddock.

The Force will not an easy team to beat as it caused an upset yesterday with a 16-6 victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

Brown said the match against the Bulls was a tough game blighted by the weather.

''There had been torrential rain and conditions on the field were not great to make it a spectacle. But as a team we put in a great effort and got the result.

''Field position and putting them under pressure was always going to be the key to success. We did that reasonably well in the first half and then put ourselves under pressure a bit in the second half.''

The Highlanders lost Waisake Naholo to a red card in the second half, after he shoulder-charged Bulls midfielder Burger Odendaal.

It was clumsy more than blatantly dirty. Brown did not want to comment on the dismissal and Naholo faces a hearing Monday night.

He was likely to get a minimum of two weeks at best, so would miss the match against the Force and the home game against the Waratahs.

Brown praised midfielder Malakai Fekitoa, who scored the winning try.

''He's been playing great rugby for us and just getting better and better every week. To find that extra speed and energy at that time of the match was massive for us.''

In other games at the weekend, the Lions beat the Brumbies 13-6, while the Crusaders remained unbeaten with a 20-12 victory over the Hurricanes. The Reds beat the Rebels 29-24 and in Port Elizabeth, the Kings beat the Sharks 35-32.