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Hurricanes wary of rising Chiefs in crunch semifinal

Hurricanes wary of rising Chiefs in crunch semifinal

All BlacksJune 10, 2024

Having their DHL Super Rugby Pacific semifinal opponents, the Chiefs, play one of their best games of the season has given the Hurricanes plenty to ponder ahead of their contest in Wellington on Saturday.

Now, one win away from hosting a Super Rugby final, the Hurricanes are on the cusp of advancing beyond the hopes they set for the side in November when they first came together to prepare for the season. That goal was to have a home quarterfinal, at least, while making a home semi would be even better.

Laidlaw said, "Playoffs rugby is not about how many, it's not even necessarily about how you perform, it's about finding a way to get to the next week. So, we're super happy and proud of the group."

The Hurricanes took time to settle in the first half, although they helped the Rebels' cause with turnovers.

The Rebels used their breakdown ability and line speed to apply pressure before finally going down 20-47.

"They were good at that in the first half, but we adjusted. They're not a big line speed team, so they haven't been able to keep that going for the full 80 [minutes].

"We made a couple of slight adjustments at halftime around that, but we had to weather the storm as we knew we would. That's quarterfinal rugby, that's the way it should be."

Laidlaw said he wasn't too concerned about what the win looked like; he was more interested in how they could improve.

"And we're going to need to, the Chiefs played well."

They may have to play without form prop Xavier Numia, who suffered a calf muscle injury that wasn't looking good. They are also uncertain that a knee injury suffered by fullback Ruben Love will be recovered in time.

Laidlaw said the leadership provided by second five-eighths Jordie Barrett was impressive.

"He's played a lot of big games and is hungry to try and win and improve. We're seeing that through the week with Jordie. The way he's training and preparing is of a very high standard, allowing him to take a game by the scruff of the neck.

"Some of his tackles, a couple of his ball carries probably ignited us. That's what you want from your best players, and what you expect."

Some solid performances in the #SuperRugbyPacific Quarter Finals 💪

Semi Finals here we come! pic.twitter.com/MQUVR7dS26

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) June 8, 2024

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