Savea the headliner, but Hammett praises entire pack
It isn’t often a young buck shines when given his first opportunity on one of the grandest stages, but the hype surrounding Ardie Savea appears to be justified after an eye catching debut for the Hurricanes.
He stood firm against a Hooper charging at him at pace in the 69th minute, knocked him down, released him, and then pounced like a wild cat over the loose ball.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett praised the move saying how noticeable Savea’s efforts were on the field.
"We will sit down and look at the finer parts of his game, but if you were watching as a fan you couldn't help see how dynamic he was with the ball in hand,” Hammett said.
"I think it was the 70th minute, tackle, up, steal.”
“Those things are pretty priceless. He had a really good start.”
Most pleasing for Hammett and the Hurricanes was how a pack with multiple changes didn’t skip a beat, but further to this how the set piece, pinpointed in some quarters as a glaring weakness for the men from the capital, was in powerful form against a Wallaby laden Waratahs team.
Ben Franks, Victor Vito, Jeremy Thrush, Dane Coles and Karl Lowe were all missing, five players whose absence in theory should guarantee the rival pack honours.
But not in Wellington last night, as the Hurricanes not only continued to showcase their wonderful attack, but added some significant starch up front while proving they have considerable squad depth.
All in all a good night in the office for a team that has now won four straight.
"It was extremely significant. When you take five of your starting guys out of that forward pack,” Hammett said.
"I think we have a pretty well-rounded squad and pretty good depth. That's easy to talk about but that was the challenge tonight to actually put that into place. It wasn't faultless, but it was seamless in terms of the set piece, some of the aggression and dominance at the tackle."