When: Friday March 2, 7.10pm (6.10am NZT, March 3)
Where: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Hurricanes coach resists temptation to change
FAITH: Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has given his players the chance to build on their encouraging first-up effort.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has given his players the chance to build on their encouraging first-up effort by naming an unchanged side to play the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
In truth Hammett does not have a lot of reasons or options to rejig the side that lost 39-26 to the Stormers in Cape Town.
There may have been some temptation to move big wing Julian Savea into the squad, but the backline was the brightest aspect of the season-opener and continuity is a wiser play for a team trying to find its feet.
And up front, a case could be made for prop Michael Bent or lock James Broadhurst to start, considering the shaky set piece.
But one match should not drastically change a coach’s pecking order, and tighthead Ben May hinted that lingering frustrations would be a big motivation for a pack determined to put in a more disciplined effort against the Lions.
“Some things went well and others clearly didn’t so we’ve been working really hard to make sure we can get into our game,” he said last night as the Hurricanes prepared to shift camp from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
“We are excited about this week because we want to show everyone what we can do, show everyone back home that we have done a lot of work.
“There is definitely still a bit of frustration because I think we played well at times, we showed a lot of heart, there were some great patches in that game, but a lot of frustrations.”
May was one of three Hurricanes props sinbinned by South African referee Marius Jonker at Newlands.
And though Hammett’s long talk with referees boss Lyndon Bray exonerated several of the scrum offences, May said the onus was on the players to adjust better to varying calls.
“I was definitely frustrated at the time. Looking back, I need to not do that and just move on, be more disciplined – that’s where I’ll be heading.”
Australia’s Kiwi referee Steve Walsh will officiate the Hurricanes’ next match, but May said there would not be a detailed analysis of his previous performances.
“Nah, not really. You have a talk [to the ref] before the game and hope that’s how it goes on the field. But if that doesn’t go to plan we have to be better at adapting to the situation.”
There was a lot of confidence in the camp despite coming off a loss, he said.
“The Stormers are a great team so any team that can play half an hour [with a man down] and be even at 55 minutes isn’t bad. That was a credit to the boys’ defence, so that’s a big positive.
“They [the Lions] aren’t really a normal South African template. They have a couple of New Zealand coaches there and they like to attack, but we are looking to attack them. We think there are opportunities there.
“Hopefully we can play our game for more than 10 minutes this week.”
HURRICANES: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Cory Jane, Beauden Barrett, Chris Eaton, Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Dane Coles, Tristan Moran. Reserves: Motu Matu’u, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, James Broadhurst, Brad Shields, TJ Perenara, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Charlie Ngatai.
– © Fairfax NZ News