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Broadhurst shines for Hurricanes

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Sportal.co.nz     30 Jan 2011     Getty Images

The Taranaki second rower is in a four-way battle with Jason Eaton, Bryn Evans and Jeremy Thrush for a spot in new coach Mark Hammett's starting line-up and did his selection chances no harm with tries either side of half-time, some decent work in the line-outs and scrums and a couple of bullocking runs in a match that was played over four quarters and watched by around 8,000 fans.

"I didn't really know what was going on," Broadhurst said of his try-scoring exploits. "I haven't really scored too many tries in my professional life. So it's pretty good when you get a few."

A modest Broadhurst however doubted whether his performance would have left his fellow second-rowers feeling a shade uneasy about their selection chances.

"Personally it brings the confidence up but I wouldn't say it puts the pressure on the other guys," he said. "Jason is just coming back from injury and Jeremy [calf problem] didn't play today.

"Everyone gets their chance in pre-season to show what they can do so I wouldn't read too much into it."

Hammett and opposite number Ian Foster took different approaches to the game with the Hurricanes coach choosing to roll his players on and off throughout the entire 80 minutes, while Foster opted to stick with the same XV until half-time.

"We wanted to give guys quite a decent chunk of time," said Foster. "I think sometimes in pre-season you can chop and change and if you do it too much and give guys just little bits they don't really settle in.

"The idea was to give that team a good hit-out in that first 40. We took a bit of confidence from the shape we got out of that.

"Even though the Hurricanes came back well and controlled possession in that third quarter there were some good lessons for us."

With neither side's All Blacks involved both coaches used their wider training group players extensively.

"It's absolutely critical that all these guys know our patterns and they understand what we're trying to achieve and what we stand for as the Hurricanes as well," said Hammett.

"It's a real privilege to be able to get them out there and it's a real privilege for them to pull on the jersey.

"I thought they performed really well and they've trained really well right up to this point. There is absolutely no doubt we will see some of those players during this year's Super rugby competition."

Halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow impressed in a slick-looking Chiefs back line in the first half, while hard-running No.8 Fritz Lee gave the visitors plenty of go-forward as he punched some holes in the Hurricanes defence early on.

TJ Perenara, who last year made his Wellington debut while still at school, started at halfback for the Hurricanes alongside Daniel Kirkpatrick, who only played the first quarter. He was replaced by Taranaki up-and-comer Beauden Barrett with Aaron Cruden having a spell at second five-eighths just after half-time before switching to pivot later in the game.

"From my perspective it's really important that we can have two first-fives that can control both sides of the game particularly when we want to play a wide game," Hammett said of the decision to play Cruden at 12.

"He can do that. While he's a wee bit small he's got the speed and when you've got that agility and great foot speed you're sometimes as dangerous as a really big man.

"I thought he was good. I thought when those senior players got in those driving positions we probably started playing the game we were trying to play today."

The Chiefs led 17-14 at half-time thanks to tries by Tim Nanai-Williams (two) and Ben May which cancelled out Jayden Hayward's opener and the first of Broadhurst's double.

But the Hurricanes took control in the third quarter as passes started to stick and continuity and running lines improved.

Broadhurst got his second then Andre Taylor and Julian Savea combined to put the former over for the Hurricanes' fourth which extended their lead to 28-17 at three-quarter time.

The Chiefs came back strongly in the final spell. Trent Renata and Sam Cane both got across the whitewash and Alapati Leiua scorched in at the left-hand corner for the Hurricanes.

Scorers were: Hurricanes 35 (James Broadhurst2, Andre Taylor, Jayden Hayward, Alapati Leiua tries; Daniel Kirkpatrick con; Andre Taylor 2 con, Beauden Barrett 2 con) Chiefs 31 (Tim Nanai Williams 2, Trent Renata, Ben May, Sam Cane tries; Mike Delany con, Tim Nanai Williams conversion).