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Hurricanes brace for Brumbies backlash

Hurricanes brace for Brumbies backlash

All BlacksApril 26, 2024

Knowing the Brumbies will be looking to get back on track after a thumping 7-46 loss to the Blues last week has the Hurricanes wary ahead of their DHL Super Rugby Pacific game in Canberra on Saturday.

Despite their loss, the Brumbies still sit third on the points table, and a win over them would be the equivalent of double points for the Hurricanes.

Coach Clark Laidlaw said he expects the Brumbies to bounce back.

"When you watch the game [Blues v Brumbies] closely, at 30 minutes it was 7-0.

"It was a real contest, and the Blues have that power that if they get on the front foot, they can do that to any time. There was a large part of that first half where the Brumbies missed a couple of opportunities. It could easily have been 10-0, 12-0 to the Brumbies at one stage.

"So, we expect a huge bounce back."

Laidlaw said with the injury suffered by hooker Asafo Aumua he had put out a call to former stalwart Dane Coles, but he had a hamstring injury and was unavailable.

"We asked him to come back, but I'm not sure he would have said yes or no, but it was something we thought about."

Aumua will be out for six to eight weeks with his MCL injury. It was unfortunate, but it meant other hookers would have to step up.

Aumua had been enjoying one of his best seasons, and Laidlaw said that was down to his outstanding pre-season. It was his first complete preparation for five or six years, and he was hopeful he could be back before the end of the Super Rugby campaign.

Here's your lineup for Round 10.

The Hurricanes look forward to taking a moment to commemorate Anzac Day and pay tribute to those who have served, and those who continue to serve. 🖤💛 pic.twitter.com/FPN6LT3NHm

— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) April 24, 2024

But replacement James O'Reilly had also been playing well when coming on, and he would get more of the game time he had been seeking.

The game is the 400th played by the Hurricanes since Super Rugby's introduction in 1996.

Laidlaw said that when he was growing up in Scotland and watching Super Rugby on television, he always associated the Hurricanes with their ability to use the ball and attack from anywhere.

"Watching this Super Rugby in Scotland was foreign to us.

"They've had some players who have changed the game. If you go to [fullback] Christian Cullenge or Dane Coles – maybe he changed the role of hooker. That sort of enterprise and the attack and flair was the one thing that stood out."

Now that he was involved in coaching the side, it was a balance of the Hurricanes' traditional style and playing the game in different ways but still with flair.

"I feel like we're only getting start with some areas of the game. We've put in some good foundations. From set piece to defence, the attack's starting to find some rhythm, but there is a different challenge every week."

That challenge was going from the highly unstructured Fijian Drua style dominated by their power athletes to one of the Brumbies who tried to wear opponents down and go after the set piece while building pressure to play their kicking game.

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