Pressure on Hurricanes to keep performing

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The Brumbies, back at home for the first time in the competition, are desperate to get into the win column on the table while the Hurricanes can keep their finals hopes alive with a win. A bonus-point win would be even more valuable.


Hurricanes loose forward Gareth Evans, who returned to playing action with the side after a year out with injury, said the team's focus would be on getting the win.


"We have to win each week, then bonus points are second," he said.


"This weekend is pretty massive for us, going to Canberra where we haven't had much success against the Brumbies in the past. If we want to have a foot in the door of the final, we've got to take on one of Australia's best teams in their home patch.


"There're still parts of our game that aren't clicking yet, and we're still searching for the complete 80-minute performance. But we're heading in the right direction which is a good thing," he said.


Evans said bonus points were not front of mind for the team. They were putting more concentration into their defensive game.


"We don't really think about the bonus point as much, but we're trying to put more emphasis on our D [defence]. With the new bonus point system, it's three or more tries [than the opposition]. We trust our attack, we've been guilty in the past of letting in too many points, so that's been an area of focus in this trans-Tasman comp," he said.



Evans said it was a relief to be playing again and all the more satisfying doing it at Napier, his hometown. As late as January, early February, his surgeon, who completed his ankle reconstruction, was uncertain of the procedure's outcome. So that added to Evans' relief to play again.


At the same time, the uncertainty around his playing future led to him stepping back and looking at where he was. He decided he couldn't let rugby define him. He put some work into his future to make any transition easier should he be unable to play again.


For the moment, that wasn't necessary, and he was enjoying his involvement with the side again.


Defence coach Cory Jane said he was pleased with the defensive effort in keeping the Force tryless, but there was still work to do. The Brumbies had a good set of backs, who were capable of putting the Hurricanes under pressure.


"If you can start making them play out of structure, out of system, you do that with defence and scoring points, you've got a better chance of winning so we've got to keep focusing on that," he said.


Jane said first five-eighths Ruben Love was a chance to be included.


"He's good, he's been hitting the gym, and he looks fine. He's a tough kid to understand because he gives you the poker face, so you don't really know what he's about. He seems better than last week, and I don't think he was too far off."


Jane said it was important to manage his return carefully and keep his best interests in mind.


"You want them to feel confident they can go out there and play," he said.



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