Hurricanes prepare for tough contest in Christchurch

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Assistant coach John Plumtree said from their first meeting this week their discussion had been on beating the Crusaders first and foremost, not worrying about the semantics of the outcome and what it meant, and the Crusaders would be doing the same about the Hurricanes.


"We could end up anywhere in the world, but we know where we are going on Saturday and we know what we have to do," he said.

While they might have both qualified for the play-offs, it would not be any different to Crusaders games in the past, he said.

The Crusaders enjoyed a romp over the Rebels and had been very efficient in their win by maintaining the form they had shown all year. His personal preference was to go into the game off a tough encounter but he realised the confidence of both sides would be very high.

Plumtree said there was a lot the Hurricanes could take from their win in Sydney over the Waratahs. It was a first win for him as a coach there, and the Hurricanes didn't have a great success rate there either. It had been fantastic to get that result but they knew it would be a tough game physically that required the side to step up and they had.

"We weren't perfect by any means. We started the game really strongly but the first time we didn't have the ball they scored a try. Our 'd' [defence] wasn't perfect by any means and we've got to step up this week in that regard. We were just happy we were in the contest the whole way," he said.

As regards the way New Zealand teams had dominated the Australian sides, Plumtree said it was down to the depth and the systems in place in New Zealand.

"There just seems to be a gravy train of talent coming through and it is structured in a way that players can perform at a higher level and I guess it's got something to do with the coaches and management around the country who are well organised, and the players are really good professionals in this country.

"There's a massive focus on team first, I believe, in all the franchises and I think we see the benefit of that when the going gets tough," he said.

New Zealand teams also had an ability to play a high intensity game for a prolonged period, and especially in the last 20 minutes of games.

"Against the New Zealand teams you have got to be in the hunt right the way through to get a win and you know the ante is going to be upped at some point in the game and that is generally in the second half," he said.

However, he said the New Zealand sides couldn't afford to crow because going to Cape Town to play the Stormers or to Canberra to play the Brumbies was tough because they were sides who were good at home.