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Hurricanes expecting a physical clash in Melbourne

Hurricanes expecting a physical clash in Melbourne

All BlacksMarch 4, 2023

Off to a flying start with a big win against the Reds, the Hurricanes expect a physical forward contest with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday in their DHL Super Rugby Pacific game.

Although they lost their opener, the Rebels were dominant early against the Force in Perth in the opening round.

"It looks like they pride themselves on their physicality, massive tackles, [they have] big boys to carry, and the Force only got on top of them late.

"Our game won't get going if we don't get our carries and they start to get their big shots on defensively, or slow our ball up. I see them as a physical side that will put pressure on us to make sure we're doing the right things around the collision area."

Holland was especially pleased with the set pieces and the attack off turnovers, areas they had been working hard on during the pre-season.

The Hurricanes' concentration has been on doing little things well. That was important against Australian teams, who came hard at the breakdown. The Reds did that, and he expected the Rebels would do likewise.

"Our physicality at the breakdown is going to be a key part of our weekend."

He said overconfidence would not be a problem because the side was good at dealing with one thing and then getting on with the next.

"We have targeted this trip for a long time and probably haven't gone too far past thinking about the Reds. With the longest pre-season we have had for quite a while, the boys have had a long time thinking about what we need to do while we're in Aussie.

"They did it well last week and the boys recovered well on Sunday and they have been pretty good on getting into next job focus and we don't want to leave a stone unturned to make sure they are ready."

WEEKLY PROGRAMME | Catch up on all the team-lists, big stories and players to watch in Melbourne this weekend.

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 2, 2023

Starting Peter Lakai on the side of the scrum last week worked well, and Du'Plessis Kirifi has the start in Melbourne. They were in a comfortable position having such talented players available, and the competition for places was good for the side.

It was similar at tighthead prop where former All Black Owen Franks started last week with Tyrel Lomax off the bench but getting the start against the Rebels.

"There is scope to see what happens week-to-week in that space."

There was more buzz around the Super weekend with all teams playing in Melbourne, especially when there was no AFL to compete with. Some fans were also making a big weekend of it by travelling over from New Zealand.

Experiencing the law variations for the first time in competitive play, Holland said the ball-in-play time in their game less than in the New Zealand games, although he felt the play was quicker than previously.

With more time provided to launch attacking opportunities at scrums, it was exciting to have that time available. However, it would not be long before teams worked out options to try and defend that area better, Holland said.

Your 23 to take the field in Super Round this Friday 💥

Read the full story here: https://t.co/PpIB9Ixjz3 pic.twitter.com/gEuOVvGT1f

— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) March 1, 2023

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