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Go the 'Canes

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Author Topic: Go the 'Canes  (Read 2553 times)
« on: May 16, 2009, 04:18:10 pm »

'Canes: Just how badly do they want it?

By SAM WORTHINGTON in Brisbane - The Dominion Post | Saturday, 16 May 2009

DO THEY WANT IT?: Do the Hurricanes have the raw desire to win a Super rugby title?  MAARTEN HOLL/The Dominion Post.

DO THEY WANT IT?: Do the Hurricanes have the
raw desire to win a Super rugby title?
MAARTEN HOLL/The Dominion Post.

A blind man can see this Hurricanes team has the required talent, but questions linger over whether it has the raw desire to land its first Super rugby title.

With 11 former or current All Blacks accounting for exactly half of tonight's squad, the Hurricanes should pack too much ammunition for the hapless Reds, despite the triple boost of the returning Berrick Barnes, James Horwill and Mark McLinden. But can they win making a statement with the swagger of potential champions, or the clinical execution perfected by the Crusaders?

A Hurricanes win at Suncorp Stadium would mean a semifinal berth is assured and other results will determine whether they fly to Hamilton, Pretoria, or home to Wellington. After being disturbingly out-enthused and falling back to earth with a thud against the Chiefs last Saturday, Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper has asked his team's leadership group to up the ante.

The Hurricanes travelled a day earlier than planned and there was a tense edge to yesterday's captain's run at a hot University of Queensland.

"We originally weren't going to do that, but we decided to change because of the importance of the game," Cooper said.

"I've asked the leaders to drive more and I've been really happy with the way they've been driving the gameplan, the importance, the preparation. At the end of the day, you're sitting in a coach's box, they're the ones out in the battle."

Cooper is particularly delighted with the continued maturation of Ma'a Nonu, who will again be the Hurricanes' key attacking trump card and will heavily test the defence of under-fire opposite Quade Cooper.

"His form and his leadership, off the field he's doing a lot of work with the younger players," Colin Cooper said.

"He's a voice in how we should be training and he's one of the leaders. I'm really, really pleased that I'm seeing his performance on and off the field grow, it's been quite massive."

The Hurricanes have been at pains this week to point out the Reds' nothing-to-lose mentality and the fact they have knocked over the Sharks and the Blues this season.

Cooper said it was a positive that Reds first-five Barnes, lock Horwill and fullback McLinden were back because it would ward off any possible sense of complacency.

"But we're certainly not worried about them, it's about us and it's about our mental state and our hunger and our desire and our want.

"The other key is being able to ignore the mathematics involved in sorting out seven teams into four and staying focused on the job at hand. It means nothing if we don't win."

Hurricanes lock Jason Eaton said rather than the Chiefs loss taking the wind out of the side's sails, it had reinvigorated the group towards another finals campaign.

"I think it was a timely wake-up call if we can go on from here. It was a lack of attitude we took up to Hamilton last week so it's a good time for us to refocus. Hopefully, you'll see a shift in that and we'll get back to the Hurricanes of the last three or four weeks."

While the Hurricanes are preparing for the Reds to play expansive rugby, Barnes' excellent tactical kicking provides their best chance of keeping the game close.

If niggly loose forwards Scott Waldrom, Rodney So'oialo and, in the second half, Karl Lowe, can force him into rushing his play, the game will be as good as won.

As Eaton sums up, it's about desperation: "It's our last chance really. We've got this game and if we lose then we probably won't get another chance."


Where and when: Suncorp Stadium, tonight 9.40pm. TV: Sky Sport 1 TAB: Reds $5.75, Hurricanes $1.11

Reds: Mark McLinden, Brando Va'aulu, Charlie Fetoai, Quade Cooper, Rod Davies, Berrick Barnes, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, Poutasi Luafutu/Andrew Shaw, Ezra Taylor, James Horwill, Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley.

Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes, Adam Byrnes, Scott Higginbotham, Richard Kingi, Anthony Faingaa, Anthony Sauer.

Hurricanes: Cory Jane, Tamati Ellison, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, David Smith, Willie Ripia, Piri Weepu, Rodney So'oialo, Scott Waldrom, Victor Vito, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, John Schwalger.

Reserves: Ged Robinson, Jacob Ellison, Bryn Evans, Karl Lowe, Alby Mathewson, Jason Kawau, Zac Guildford.

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