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Do or die takes on another meaning for Melbourne Rebels

Do or die takes on another meaning for Melbourne Rebels

All BlacksJune 7, 2024

Facing a Rebels side possibly playing its last DHL Super Rugby Pacific game in their quarterfinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday, the home team are wary of the do-or-die mentality of their opponents.

Coach Clark Laidlaw has struck it before in his previous role as coach of the All Blacks Sevens.

Laidlaw said quarterfinals were typically tricky games and had to be treated like finals.

"We're all in on trying to win as we can. So, the mentality switches now.

"Through the year, you think about bonus points, you think about rhythm, you think about rotation, you think about areas of the game you want to grow and develop in, and utimately, it's about finding a way to win by one point each week."

Having spoken with Chris Boyd, the only Hurricanes head coach to have achieved a Super Rugby championship, Laidlaw was reminded that teams can't get ahead of themselves in playoffs rugby.

They realise the Rebels come to Wellington with powerful motivation. They were in a do-or-die situation, knowing that losing would be the last game in their history.

"We've talked around energy that they can bring, but then what does that look like for us to take it away from them?"

Your team for Quarter Finals! πŸŒͺ️ We’re hosting our first home quarter-final in over five years!

Tickets | https://t.co/QAdFuutfre… pic.twitter.com/z9pNhjvgyt

β€” Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) June 5, 2024

They effectively won penalties from their own scrums and played with energy in certain parts of their game that the Hurricanes would need to be good to stop them.

Seeing the Blues lose a bonus point that would have seen them finish first in the regular season didn't change much for the Hurricanes.

"We've got a whole heap of work to do to make that count, so that's for this week."

Laidlaw said there was so much the Hurricanes could be better at, and they were nowhere near as good as they could be.

They will seek to improve their success at converting visits into the opposition's 22m area and defending their 22.

"We're focused around finishing opportunities. We create a lot and if we can lift that efficiency two or three percent it would make a big difference. We get so many opportunities, but in big games, you're not going to get as many."

Experienced halfback TJ Perenara was a concern earlier in the week after suffering a haematoma, but he is confident he will be able to play.

He was looking forward to playing a home quarterfinal against a Rebels side with plenty to play for.

Perenara, who has already become the highest try scorer in Super Rugby history, will add another milestone by becoming the most capped Hurricanes player.

But he was more concerned about the team's progress through the playoffs. That would require better execution in parts of the field, and the team understood that to advance in the tournament, they would need to improve the areas of the game where they had been put under pressure by opposing sides.

The 2024 #SuperRugbyPacific Finals series kicks off this Friday πŸ†

Who have you got winning this week? pic.twitter.com/Aijqlqcnjd

β€” Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) June 1, 2024

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