Hurricanes wary of gutsy Force

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The Force's record in denying the Chiefs and Highlanders bonus points would have the Hurricanes wary of chasing the extra points in Napier.

 

Coach Jason Holland said: "We've got a positive mindset around whether we kick for goal or not, but against this Force side, who will bring niggle and will be into everything, if we go out there thinking we're going to get a bonus point, we'll be getting ourselves in trouble. We need to nail the little things to win the game first.

 

"There's nothing too flashy, but they're good at the little things. They've got awesome lineout D [defence], and [Jeremy] Thrushy is going pretty well there.

 

"They've got some experienced old heads who will make sure they understand what big moments are like. They do the simple things well, and they bring a hell of a lot of physicality and intent," he said.

 

Loose forward and captain Ardie Savea's return from the bench was a bonus for the side.

 

Holland said, "He's going well. We've always had that plan around the Brumbies, and he's always going to push it and do everything he possibly can.

 

"We had some strict things he had to get through in the last couple of weeks, and he just keeps ticking the boxes. He's definitely good to go, he'll play a good part of the game."

The selection changes were down to rest and competition. The three halfbacks were very competitive, and Luke Campbell returned to start this week. On the wing, Salesi Rayasi was in for Julian Savea. And, at centre, Peter Umaga-Jensen was starting ahead of Billy Proctor.

 

In the pack, Gareth Evans is starting at No8, and Isaiah Walker-Leawere returns at lock while hooker Dane Coles is rested for Asafo Aumua to start with Ricky Riccitelli on the bench.

 

"We've continued on with our trend, that we feel anyone in our squad can nail what we're trying to do," he said.

 

The only player who hasn't had time off is fullback Jordie Barrett.

 

"We've looked to release Jordie over the last 15 minutes of the last couple of games. It's something we're aware of.

 

"He's a bit of a greyhound, in that he wants to keep going, and he goes pretty well. We'll keep being smart about it," he said.

 

First five-eighths Ruben Love has recovered from a concussion. However, he also suffered a shoulder injury when getting his head knock and, while close to returning, he was not quite ready, Holland said.

 

Orbyn Leger will start again in the position and said he was enjoying the opportunities he was getting.

 

They wanted to play attacking rugby, and everyone was in the mindset to back themselves against a team that showed its strength in the Force's first two games.

 

"I think the first two rounds have shown where our mindset is at the moment," he said.

 

That was obvious in some of the tries they scored in their win over the Rebels when they were able to express themselves, he said.

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