Gibbes confident Hurricanes will be ready for Chiefs

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Assistant coach Chris Gibbes said having managed their way through Covid-19 and Delta, the speed of Omicron going through the squad had been a surprise, even with the precautions they had in place.


But they were hopeful that delaying their game by a day until Sunday would give them a chance to put a competitive side together.


The importance of that was obvious with the Chiefs beating the Crusaders at the weekend.


"I thought the Chiefs were relentless the way they went around it," Gibbes said.


"It was a tight tussle for long periods of that game, but the Chiefs have got a pack that can do some damage up front, and they showed that at times. Then they can light it up.


"It's going to be a challenge for us, one we're really excited about. They're a good side," he said.


One difficulty he acknowledged was analysing how they wanted to play the Chiefs without knowing what team they could field.


"It's a challenge. That's something we're talking about daily as coaches.


"The other side of it is that we've trained as a whole group for quite a while and guys that step into those spaces that haven't played yet, they get their opportunity," he said.

Those players understood what they were trying to achieve, but players called in as cover were more of a challenge.


"The guys that we have had in have been professional about the way they go about their learning, so we're confident the game plan will still roll how we want it to and guys will be able to pick it up," he said.


The Hurricanes had been hoping they could get a one-day extension for their game because it would allow them extra time to get a side together.


"We're tracking well with guys returning. The challenge is going to be making sure, from a training perspective, that we get enough time, and the Sunday game gives an extra day," Gibbes said.


Hit hard by the virus, players could only train in small groups.


"We've got guys at different stages coming back, but we're confident we will have a team for this weekend.


"There are some guys that won't get across the line in time, but that's the nature of it, and it's something we're going to have to deal with.


"But we're confident in the depth of the squad. We'll have a decent side out this weekend," he said.


They were hopeful they could have the squad back together by Thursday for two days of training before playing the Chiefs on Sunday.


"The boys have been keeping themselves fit, the guys who can train, so we're confident the group will be ready," he said.


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