The Sharks are the worst defenders in this year's Super rugby series, and Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo is the leading try-scorer.
Therefore, according to those who spout the blue-and-gold mantra, the Highlanders should resume their winning methods after last week's stumble.
That defeat came after a poor start, then a rash of rolling maul tries awarded to the Brumbies by referee Matt O'Brien as most of the team joined in.
According to those who follow the law book, David Pocock's three tries from rolling mauls were illegal. They quote Law 17, subsection 3:
"Players joining a maul must do so from behind the foot of the hindmost teammate in the maul. The player may join alongside this player. If the player joins the maul from the opponents' side, or in front of the hindmost teammate, the player is off side. Sanction: Penalty kick."
Referee Angus Gardner is in charge for the Highlanders' final pool game under the Dunedin roof tonight and has attracted a different spotlight by sending off the most players this season.
One of those was Sharks hooker and captain Bismarck du Plessis, who was banned for a month for kicking Chiefs loose forward Michael Leitch, and is making his comeback appearance tonight. He's lost the captaincy but is renowned for the edge to his play.
The Sharks will be eyeing their pack to get over the top of their opposites and limit the quality of possession the Highlanders get to their dangerous backline.
Otherwise a line-up starting from Aaron Smith will look to make a mess of the Sharks' defensive lines. That group was exposed badly by the Crusaders last month and Smith, Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith will be bursting to get into stride after their week's rest and recreate the damage they have wrought with Patrick Osborne and Naholo.
After several weeks coming off the bench, loose forwards Dan Pryor and Gareth Evans get the chance to mix it from the start with the Sharks.
They'll sit in behind a tight five which has been damaged in recent games and lost lock Joe Wheeler to a season-ending knee strain. His place is taken by Mark Reddish who has recovered from his own injuries while Josh Hohneck returns at tight-head prop for what promises to be a strong set-piece exam from the Sharks.
A Highlanders' victory will keep them in touch with the Hurricanes and Chiefs, while a loss will give the chasing Crusaders an extra fillip in their quest for a place in the finals.