Hurricanes taking no chances against Moana Pasifika

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At a time when playoffs contenders are looking to complete their All Blacks rest requirements for the regular season's rundown, Hurricanes coach Jason Holland wants to avoid another hiccup after last weekend's loss to the Fijian Drua.

No8 Ardie Savea and second five-eighths Jordie Barrett have had their All Blacks' rest delayed for at least a week to be in their best shape for the playoffs. Also having a break are wing Julian Savea, halfback Cam Roigard and prop Xavier Numia. Hooker Asafo Aumua has had his All Blacks' break forced by an elbow injury.

Hooker Dane Coles is still suffering concussion symptoms, and Jacob Devery will make his starting debut with Hame Faiva on the bench.

By comparison, Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger has made wholesale changes after the tank-emptying display to nearly beat the Blues at Eden Park last week. The side had been dented by their 0-59 loss to the Hurricanes earlier this season, and the players selected had an opportunity to express their skills and abilities.

Holland explained his stance when he said: "I think it's massive that you don't have guys limp in. We've got three derbies before the playoffs, and to win it [the competition], you probably have to play another three derbies.

"You'd hate to limp into a semifinal or a final. I understand we've got to get there first, but we've got to make sure our squad is at the top of their game.

"We'll juggle it. There are guys that have played big minutes that aren't playing.

"We're wary we have to win, and we respect Moana and the challenge they bring. But we've got to look forward to quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

"We know what Moana can do on their day, and we have massive respect for them. We learned that in a harsh way last season."

The Hurricanes needed to be at their best to win, and only after they had done that could they start to think about their final three regular-season games against the Chiefs, Blues and Crusaders.

Hurricanes v Moana Pasifika: Saturday 13 May, 4.35pm, Sky Stadium. TICKETS.


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