Hurricanes on a roll at right time

Getty Images

Monday, July 17, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Riding high after ending the Crusaders unbeaten run in the competition in 2017, the Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree was happy with the way the side fought back after being 0-12 down early on in their Saturday game against the competition leaders and it had been 'good news' the way they finished so strong.

He was aware that things could change in play offs mode where there was a chance the game could be uglier and it wasn't always possible to play the way they hoped to play.

"You have to resort to the trenches and it becomes pretty tough and we were right up for that fight which is really important," he said.

There was good news with hooker Dane Coles available for consideration, most likely off the bench, after his enforced layoff. The management were playing a waiting game with three-quarter Vince Aso who suffered a groin injury in the warm-up to Saturday's game.

While it had been a frustrating time for Coles it was fantastic to have him back. He was the side's captain and had so much experience to put to use for the team.

"He'll make a massive difference to our performance I would say," he said.

The side was in a position now where it was a danger to any opponent. Plumtree said in 2015 they had a really good side but were possibly a little complacent and had lost the final to the Highlanders.

Last year, when they went on to win the title, no-one had expected too much of them but the players were hungry to win, especially at the play-offs stage and they had done the job.

"Now it doesn't really matter what people think of us, it is what we expect from ourselves. We've got to make sure that every one of us is really hungry to win this trophy.

"We talked about certain things at the start of the year to make sure we reached a certain standard and at times we've done that during the year and at times we haven't but this is the business end now and we've got a tougher road. We've got to travel obviously and that has got to excite us even more about doing the job," he said.

"It's going to be tougher. That challenge is dished out to us and we have to standard up and accept it and meet it head on."

Lock Mark Abbott acknowledged the issues involved in travelling. It could be quite difficult but it came down to how each player held up. It was all part of the challenge and it wasn't possible to have it all your own way, he said.

While the Hurricanes had won the games they needed to this year, they hadn't always stepped up for the bigger games but at the weekend their goal was to step it up to get momentum heading into the play-offs.

The win over the Crusaders had been a massive confidence builder for the side and the forward pack was stepping up and laying a platform for the backs.

They were expecting a similar set-piece challenge from the Brumbies to what they had against the Crusaders in conditions that were likely to be cooler and more like South Island conditions with the dew affecting the ball, he said.