West relishing chance in home region

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Friday, February 23, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

It's his debut game for a side he has long wanted to play for and he wants to make the most of it and drive the team around so they can play in the right parts of the field.

Focusing on his core roles for the side to achieve maximum reward would be a driver for him in ensuring the side could unleash some of its undoubted firepower in its backline.

Knowing All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara would be inside him was a boost and he acknowledged Perenara's communication ability would be a big help in easing some of the pressure that might be applied.

"He takes a good lead in our attacking mindset on the field," he said.

Having been used to firepower outside him when he played at the Blues, albeit on a lesser scale than the Hurricanes have achieved, West said things weren't too much different in the requirement he faced of making the right decisions to unleash the talent outside.

Unwanted by the Blues this year, West had quickly adapted to the change of sides.

"It hasn't felt like a big adjustment, obviously it's something I'm pretty excited about growing up in the Hurricanes region and wanting to play for the Hurricanes. It's pretty exciting and I'm just enjoying being in the environment."

It was a difficult time coming through the grades in the Hurricanes region in his youth as he missed out on opportunities to Beauden Barrett and Lima Sopoaga.

"Being here in the environment and getting the opportunity to put on the Hurricanes jersey for the first time is something I'm pretty excited about," he said.

Clearly knowing Barrett was always likely to be the leading candidate to start was something to be considered when looking for opportunities after the Blues. But he took the view that Barrett was the best in his position in the world so there was the chance to learn from him, along with Jackson Garden-Bachop, and to push each other hard for the betterment of the side.

Pushing for game time to help the side would be how he measured his contribution whether it was starting when Barrett needed to be rested or coming on later in games.

"It's been an awesome pre-season and I've already learnt heaps from the coaches and it's just been a good little change for myself. Boydy [Chris Boyd-coach] and Jason Holland have got a lot of rugby knowledge and it's been awesome to pick their brains and learn things off them.

West is also well aware of the qualities of Bulls' first five-eighths Handre Pollard. They played against other in the Under-20s World Cup and while he was still at school at the time he had been influential in the final landing a 40m dropped goal against New Zealand.

"He's a pretty big 10 and like all South Africans they are bigger, physical sides. Being the size he is he takes the ball to the line and he's got a huge boot on him and he can drive the team around the park and put them in the right parts of the field," he said.