Hurricanes want to stay alive
Far from satisfied from a solid season that has so far yielded nine wins, the Hurricanes want to make their 2012 Investec Super Rugby campaign a fairy-tale, and reach the Super Rugby Finals Series for the sixth time since 2003.
Indeed, the Hurricanes have become the darlings of the New Zealand Conference, and while they need more than victory over the Chiefs tonight to qualify, a bonus point win would certainly make for an interesting weekend.
With Cory Jane and Victor Vito returning to the Hurricanes starting XV, there is added potency to the host’s line up, even if they are coming up against arguably the pacesetter for the 2012 Investec Super Rugby season.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett, who will no doubt be a satisfied man after a successful season which has seen his team become the most potent offensive outfit all year, said to the Dominion Post they weren’t going to die wondering.
"We aren't going to crash and burn. We've worked too hard around what we've tried to do this year, winning respect around the franchise," Hammett said.
"These guys are all in. We don't want the season to finish. The most depressing thought is thinking we might not be back together next week.
"This is a very tight team. We've seen it all year, they're close and they've achieved a heck of a lot through having to work really, really hard. When you have that it's not something you want to finish."
A win without a bonus point will see them reach the Super Rugby Finals Series if two of the teams above them (Bulls, Sharks, Crusaders and Reds) lose, while scoring four tries en route to victory could see them gain a miracle home qualifier is most of the side’s above them trip up.
Over 20,000 are expected at Westpac Stadium tonight, and while the Hurricanes 55 tries might suggest an all-out attack, Hammett said the team had to play within their patterns.
"We've urged the leadership group 100 per cent to think, win first," he said.
"You look at the game against the Waratahs, we kept sticking to our tactics, we kicked quite a bit and we ended up getting a try on fulltime.
"So I think we don't actually want to focus on the bonus point. We know that when we focus on our tactics and our structures we will get those opportunities to score tries. First and foremost that's what we want to do and then it'll be more of a feeling how things are going as the game goes on."