Hurricanes tight five get message ahead of Cheetahs
The Hurricanes are determined to put the embarrassment of last week's performance against the Bulls behind them when they take on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday morning (NZT).
"There's been a big emphasis on the tight five and the forwards getting a platform this week," said the experienced tighthead prop.
"Also earning the right to play, we've got to be direct again. The umbrella defence that the South Africans have, you've got to earn the right to play those wide channels."
He added: "Last week was pretty tough. It was a tough pill to swallow. We've worked bloody hard this week. We're ready to go.
"There's been some pretty stern words spoken throughout the week. I think we'll be good to go come [Saturday]."
The inclusion of Faifili Levave and Jack Lam - for Brad Shields and Karl Lowe - in the loose forwards will help bring the physical edge the Hurricanes coaches are looking for.
"Faifili when he came on [against the Bulls], like Jack Lam, they offered a bit of physical edge at the time. They've been rewarded for that," explained assistant coach Alama Ieremia.
"Brad has obviously played a lot of minutes this year so we've got to make sure we look after him as well.
"For this game we need all guns blazing and we feel these are the boys that can do the job for us."
The onus is also on the players to keep things simple and play rugby in the right areas of the field -
something they definitely didn't do against the Bulls where two intercept tries left them chasing the game early.
"We've told the boys this week we're playing simple rugby, backing our long kicking skills and making the most of this altitude," said first five-eighths Beauden Barrett. "Last week we found ourselves stuck in our own half a bit too much trying to play with the limited ball we had."
Barrett resumes his partnership with second-five Tim Bateman this week but Reynold Lee-Lo will make his first start for the side in place of injured skipper Conrad Smith.
The inclusion of Lee-Lo was seen as less disruptive than shifting Alapati Leiua from the wing to centre.
"The combination of having Rey there with Timmy, who have played together before, is probably a lot more settled in terms of preparation as it's a short week," said Ieremia.
"So there's less disruption but also it's an opportunity for Rey who brings a bit of physicality to the team as well."
Given the success the Stormers and the Bulls have had against the Hurricanes' set-piece in the past two weeks it is no surprise Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has publicly stated it is an area his side will target too.
But the Cheetahs are also a team that has prospered by attacking with ball in hand, earning seven wins in 10 games, and Ieremia expects that won't change in Bloemfontein.
"We've just got to make sure that we cope with both of those [scenarios]. They are a team that's on a high and with the bye they would have freshened up. We're certainly looking forward to that challenge."