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Burleigh looks on the bright side

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Sportal.co.nz     11 Apr 2013     Getty Images

The Brumbies are top equal with the Chiefs on 29 points while the Highlanders are anchored at the bottom on six as they prepare for the showdown at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Highlanders were beaten 29-18 by the Blues in Auckland last weekend while the Brumbies, who had had five wins and a loss, will be smarting after being held to a 28-all draw by the lowly Southern Kings in Canberra.

"The boys haven't dropped their heads," Burleigh said. "It would be easy to lose six games and get negative but things have been pretty positive and we haven't changed our habits. We just hope that people keep the faith and that we can repay them."

Burleigh, 26, has been a consistent performer in midfield but he did concede confidence among some players may be down.

"It probably does prey on your mind a bit but it's just the little errors that have crept into our game - dropped passes, not being patient enough inside the opposition 22 and not converting enough of our line-breaks into points, as we did last year."

Burleigh said the feeling was one of extreme frustration after the loss to the Blues.

"The most frustrating part was the last 20 minutes. We did what we wanted to do initially. We started well, which we had concentrated on, but we just made too many errors."

Burleigh is reasonably satisfied with his own form.

"I'm happy enough but there are still things I can improve on. I've got to keep my form up, keep chipping away and try to get a regular starting spot.

"I'm happy to play at second five or centre. Ma'a [Nonu] is a an outstanding player and it's hard to cement a spot at No 12 but I'm pleased to fill in wherever."

Burleigh is expecting a torrid battle against the Australian conference leader.

"They're very structured," he said. "They're not really a team of stars but they are very well coached [by Jake White]. I think they are the leading team in the competition at the breakdown.

"They concede a few penalties and we've just got to try to break their pattern up and make it a bit scrappy.

"We need to be physical and get them going backwards, and force them to kick and make a few mistakes."

The composition of the Highlanders team will be finalised during the next day as they ascertain the state of the injuries which formed Lima Sopoaga, Jamie Mackintosh, Buxton Popoali'i and Jason Emery from the field at Eden Park.