Hurricanes ready for sprint to the playoffs

26 days ago

Extending their depth while continuing their growth as a side is the Hurricanes' goal in their DHL Super Rugby Pacific game against Moana Pasifika on Friday.

Hurricanes - Figure 1
Photo superrugby.co.nz

Knocked off top place by the Blues last weekend, assistant coach Jamie Mackintosh said the coaching group was proud of some things the side did against the Blues.

"We've got a nice balance in the group.

"There was a lot of adversity in the week last week; late changes to the team and some players in and out of the squad. It tested some players.

"The good thing for us is we were honest in our reviews and we've got a bit of ceiling left around where we can go in our game."

Mackintosh said he has seen a significant shift in what Moana Pasifika is doing.

"Tom Coventry [Moana assistant coach] was a coach of mine at the Chiefs, and I know how much he loves his forwards and how he coaches them. I've seen a massive improvement in their scrum, some good variation in their lineouts, and they are mauling well.

"It's going to be a tough match.

"It's like every game of Super Rugby; it's going to come down to carrying, cleaning with intent, our physicality on defence and our reactions and controlling rugby in the right part of the field.

"This has been a really big week for us, about how can we produce a performance that we think is going to launch us into a good spot to be confident coming down the stretch."

Two players, tighthead prop Siale Lauaki and hooker Raymond Tuputupu will make their starting debuts for the side.

"Siale is a wonderful kid. He's got a massive future in the game, both with the Hurricanes and potentially for higher honours. His skill sets revolve around carrying, his footwork, and his dominance with his tackling.

"The trick for us is to ensure we're not progressing him too fast. He's still got a lot of growth to do with his body and understanding of his core strength, and his back strength. It's a cool opportunity and will be hard for him, the biggest test of his career.

"Ray is a super athlete. He's got tons of improvements and areas where he can make some big shifts which is really exciting. Not many people tackle like him.

"He has transitioned into our team and had to work hard on his professionalism and how he structures and runs his weeks, particularly with his throwing. At times, he has struggled, but in the last four weeks, I've seen a shift in his performance and skill sets.

"If he continues on the pathway, he's got a big future."

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