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From Top of the Table to Underdog Battle: Hurricanes Prepare for Moana Pasifika

From Top of the Table to Underdog Battle: Hurricanes Prepare for Moana Pasifika

All BlacksMay 16, 2024

From the heights of a top-of-the-table contest one weekend to a game against a side much lower on the ladder like Moana Pasifika, with a six-day turnaround, is a different sort of DHL Super Rugby Pacific challenge for the Hurricanes.

Head coach Clark Laidlaw said his attitude towards the challenge was based on a principle his assistant coach with the All Blacks Sevens, Tomasi Cama, used.

"We used to talk a lot around, if Fiji turned up to play an Olympic final today, were we ready?

"That's our mentality this week, that we are fully focused on Moana, we're fully focused on us trying to be better at the areas of the game we need to, and maybe some people forget we're in the early stages of developing a team we want to win big games in the future.

"Were we ready at the weekend? 


Laidlaw said the side felt it could have played better against the Blues.

"We feel like we missed opportunities to pull trigger on attack. We scored four tries against a team that have been defending really well, so there're huge positives there."

He said Moana Pasifika would have a team that could cause the Hurricanes problems.

"They're definitely better than they've been and are well coached. They'll have some motivation from people who have been here in the past to come down here and unsettle us.

"It's going to be quite a tough tussle. They've got a clear identity which gives them a sense of purpose, a head coach who'll be able to help with that and facilitate it because of his history and heritage, but also his experiences as a Hurricane and an All Black."

Flanker Peter Lakai said Moana Pasifika had everything to play for and had strike weapons that could open up games.

"We're not taking them lightly. We know what needs to be done."

Lakai fended off talking about whether he might be on the All Blacks' selectors' radar by saying that while playing for the All Blacks was a long-term ambition, he was more concentrated on the Hurricanes finishing the season well.

"This game will define how we finish off the season. Moana Pasifika brings something different from the other Super teams, and we always enjoy playing against them.

"Their flair and the way they play. The way they can open up the game is always exciting to watch, and not so much to play against. They are similar to the [Fijian] Drua, they like to keep the ball alive and they've got strong runners, so we'll prepare for that."

The loss to the Blues at the weekend was one where the Hurricanes could fix what went wrong internally.

"The Blues are a good side, but if we put away our errors and we front up on defence then the scoreline's a bit different."

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