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Eden Park cliffhanger not all disappointment for the Hurricanes

Eden Park cliffhanger not all disappointment for the Hurricanes

All BlacksMay 13, 2024

Hurricanes captain and flanker Brad Shields said it was humbling to play the Blues in front of 26,000 people in their 27-31 loss in Saturday's DHL Super Rugby Pacific top-of-the-table contest at Eden Park.

While Super Rugby attendances have been a source of comment in recent years, Shields said they showed that when two teams playing good rugby went head-to-head, people were still prepared to come out and watch the game live.

"It's humbling that 26,000 people made that effort to come to the game, and our job in the entertainment industry is to perform well.

"We've just got to make sure that by the time we come to the backend of the season, we're peaking in the right areas and that'll help get us through these big games."

The loss was not all disappointment for the Hurricanes.

Coach Clark Laidlaw was encouraged by their persistence until the last play of the game.

"A lot of the players who had to step up stepped up, which was encouraging as we continued to try to build our depth.

"We're frustrated and disappointed to lose, but I'm quite excited around what I've seen tonight.

"The Blues were on top in the first half. I don't know what the possession stats were, but they're such a powerful team.

That was SOME weekend of footy 😳

Which game was your favourite?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/3B0QG2fXBo

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 12, 2024

"When they get on the front foot they can stay there, they're a good team."

The Hurricanes lost vital players, prop Tyrell Lomax and centre Billy Proctor, before the game, but Laidlaw said that was irrelevant. None of the injuries were too serious or long-term. With not too long left in the competition, they hadn't been worth risking.

"We back the squad we've got and we're trying to build depth so it's never about the players that are not here."

Captain Brad Shields said he had a mixture of pride and frustration from the game and was disappointed they couldn't get across the line at the end.

"We gave ourselves a good opportunity, probably a few times down there [in the Blues' 22], and some of the ways we defended at times was spot on.

"If we keep giving ourselves opportunities and executing, we'll be in a good space, but it's a little frustrating to finish with a loss."

But he said that from a spectator's point of view, it was an entertaining game to watch. It swung both ways and was the sort of game that attracted people back to stadiums.

Laidlaw said they learned a lot about themselves in the game, and reviewing how to stop a powerful side like the Blues would be a big part of their review.

They were still in a good place, and the bonus point they gained could be valuable.

"We probably would have felt like we snuck if we'd won at the end. The Blues probably deserved it."

Shields said the game was what they expected, but the Hurricanes needed to be better technically.

An epic Culture Round comes to a close!

Where does your team sit after the weekend?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/hg9UnKwaoY

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 12, 2024

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