Highlanders coach Tony Brown was the last person getting carried away with his side's 37-17 win over Moana Pasifika in Dunedin on Friday.

The win was nice, as was the bonus point, he said. But, a lot of work remains to be done, he said.

His frustration was the lack of clinical finish to the opportunities players were creating.

"I thought the lineout drives were fantastic. It was a massive plan of ours to go to the corner, and put their maul defence under pressure. We created four tries at least, and a couple of yellow cards," he said.

Brown felt the bench had made an impact. Hooker Rhys Marshall had been fantastic, while halfback Folau Fakatava added to the side's intensity, especially on defence.

However, MCL injuries suffered by flanker Shannon Frizell and lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit could have ended their seasons. 

"You can't replace those guys. Shannon was playing the best rugby he has for a long time. He'll be very disappointed that potentially his year is done," he said.

Halfback Ereatara Enari said the adjustment required to play Super Rugby was still an issue for many members of the Moana Pasifika squad. Compounding that adjustment was the catch-up games they are playing after Covid-19-forced postponements.

The concession of penalties was an area exposed by the lack of experience.

"The more games we get, the more exposure we get to this level, and I think we'll be able to take away those penalties.

"Once we get into a normal playing week…we've had a couple of storm weeks. We're playing two games a week. It's hard to take learnings and move into another game," he said.

Enari wasn't making excuses.

"We've got a good system, in terms of players we've pulled in to rotate through to another game…we're trying to adapt as quickly as possible.

"In light of the short turnaround from the start of the season to put a team together, I think we're doing really well. But, we need to be better. We want to be winning games," he said.

The Highlanders had shown the effectiveness of their approach by putting their attention to the scrum and lineout.

"If we can get the set-piece right, we'll have a bit of platform to launch on at the moment. We're still getting those combinations in those areas," he said.

Coach Aaron Mauger said it wasn't surprising the Highlanders looked to their forward strength at scrum, lineout and maul.

"We knew it was going to be a challenge. I thought we fronted up reasonably well there, just a couple of technical things [let them down].

"The Highlanders did well to execute the three maul [tries], and that was the difference," he said.