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Weather could add to Hurricanes' test in Brisbane

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Lynn McConnell     01 Apr 2017     Getty Images

Up against a resurgent Reds team, the Hurricanes, who had their own concerns avoiding fog at Wellington Airport on departure face the prospect of a tough slog in wet conditions.

But one player who won't mind that is Chris Eves, a prop forward who possibly bears the moniker of 'the least likely Hurricane'. He's making his 50th appearance for the side, when he said he would have been pleased just to make one appearance.

"Bringing up 50 games at any time is pretty exciting. It means a lot to me to get to 50 games, I was pretty happy just to get to one, especially coming down as a club player coming down to fill in for a day and 50 games later I'm here to play my 50th, pretty cool.

"I'm pretty happy with the consistency of the coaches picking me every week, most of my games have been off the bench so it is good to get a start on my 50th," he said.

"When I first came down [to Wellington] it was just to get away from Auckland to try something new in club rugby, I didn't even think I would play for the Hurricanes. I just played club footy for Wests and I got my opportunity and I've been here ever since.

"On my first day at the Hurricanes when I saw Conrad Smith and TJ Perenara and Dane Coles I was overwhelmed. I thought 'Wow' all these guys with big names and now I'm here next to them. They were all pretty cool and I got to know them pretty well," he said.

He doesn't mind where he plays, so long as he is playing.

It wasn't easy playing both sides of the scrum, and he hadn't mastered them both but if he did that would make things easier and he felt he was still learning every week.

Both sides of the scrum had their demands but it was the changing from one to the other that made life difficult. If he was able to stay in the one position every week then that would be easier.

"We've worked on a few things to try to counter them in scrums this week so hopefully we can get the ball in, get it out and give it to our backs," he said.

Coach Chris Boyd acknowledged Eves' worth to the side. "He's been a good footballer for us. It would have taken a lot of people by surprise that he had played 50 games and he's just got better and better. He's probably a late developer by his own admission. He didn't start by the traditional route but is a very important part of our machine, that's for sure.

"He can play loosehead and tighthead, and if you asked him he probably thinks he can play wing and centre as well. He's pretty loose for a prop but he's a good man in the team and good value for our organisation."

Fog at Wellington Airport had caused travellers problems during the week but the Hurricanes were able to maintain their schedule.

Hooker Dane Coles had a knee injury that needed a rest. Coach Chris Boyd said he could have played at a pinch but they felt it was an opportunity for him to get back to full fitness.

Boyd said there were issues for sides resuming after a bye and there were also issues going to Suncorp Stadium to play the Reds. They had a very good home record which would ensure the Hurricanes needed to be on their game.

The Reds had beaten the Sharks, and should have beaten the Crusaders and had then been on a tough tour to South Africa and Argentina which was a tough tour for anyone and while they had only one win in five they were a very capable team at home and were a dangerous beast.

"They will challenge everybody who goes there this year," he said.