Uphill steps for Hurricanes to regain winning touch

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Having gone down to a rare defeat at the hands of the Blues last week, the Hurricanes, who suffered discipline issues in their loss when playing with only 12 men at one stage near the end of the game, have to overcome the Chiefs before heading to Christchurch to play the Crusaders next week.

 

Changes have been forced in the front row as a result of Tyrell Lomax's three-game suspension and a head knock suffered by prop Xavier Numia. Dane Coles returns at hooker with Asafo Aumua on the bench.

 

Coach Jason Holland said Coles' leadership during the week was outstanding.

 

"He wants to put his hand up and grab that No 2 jersey. We've got three awesome hookers in our squad and Colesy knows he needs to play well to be our No 1 hooker and I'm sure he'll be ready to go and be nice and physical at the weekend which is what is going to be needed against the Chiefs pack," he said.

 

Devan Flanders will start on the blindside flank and that was the result of work he had been doing in the background and the unit they wanted to play against the Chiefs.

 

"He adds something different, he'll be hard on the ball and he's got a really good work rate so we're looking forward to him getting a crack. He's been on the bench for most of the year," he said.

 

Reflecting on the Blues' loss Holland said one of the lessons had been the need for accuracy, especially in the first 30 minutes when they had the Blues under pressure but were unable to get points.

 

"We weren't accurate enough to finish off all our opportunities and territory that we were gaining so we'll work hard at that. Against a Chiefs side you have to take every opportunity," he said.

 

That was clear from reviewing the Brumbies' effort when beating the Chiefs a fortnight ago.

 

"They kept the ball alive really well, they made the Chiefs defend for long phases which is something we need to consider. They were just physical. The breakdown was a massive part," he said.

 

Flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi (pictured) said there were a few things to work on from their Blues loss but they were looking to rectify them against the Chiefs.

 

It had been the first New Zealand derby for the Hurricanes and it reminded them how important they are.

"There's a lot of energy that goes into the week beforehand. We felt like we prepared well, we took a lot of confidence into the game but we didn't quite execute," he said.

The Chiefs would be similar to the Blues. They had a big physical pack and a well-run backline.

"It's all about creating pressure and putting it on them and turning that pressure into points," he said.

The Chiefs had an in-form loose trio. Sam Cane, Lachlan Boshier and Pita Sowakula had been playing well and that was all part of Super Rugby, playing against quality opponents and testing yourself, he said.

"It's the dream, you get to this level and you test yourself against the best," he said.

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