Richard Loe 's Opinion

Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: Limp Hurricanes in deep trouble already

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Their defence seemed to be all over the place - even organisational maestro Conrad Smith was caught out a time or two. Photo / Getty Images
Their defence seemed to be all over the place - even organisational maestro Conrad Smith was caught out a time or two. Photo / Getty Images

On the basis of their three matches so far, there are big problems at the Hurricanes.

You can say that it is tough for anyone starting their Super Rugby season in South Africa. But the nature of that second defeat, a close and slightly unlucky loss to the Stormers, should have set them up for a better effort against the Brumbies at home on Friday night.

The Brumbies' tries were so simple; from direct passing and running and good support play. Nothing special; but too much for a Hurricanes defence that seemed out of position all night.

They do not seem to have much in the front five, the Brumbies dealt with them easily enough there, though the Canes' scrum showed up better than their previous two games. They are also short in the loose, apart from the hardworking Jack Lam.

Their defence seemed to be all over the place - even organisational maestro Conrad Smith was caught out a time or two.

You can point to injuries as an excuse - midfielder Hadleigh Parkes withdrew just before the game (I'd say you do not play touch in training or in warm-ups before games) - as Cardiff Vaega and Alapati Leuia looked out of their depth alongside Smith, trying to fill that hole.

You could see it in the runs of Brumbies midfielder Pat McCabe - he's no dashing runner but he chewed through the Hurricanes with ease.

You'd also have to say that the influence of Jake White is still strong at the Brumbies. They looked like a White-coached team who have been given the license to express themselves a bit. He favours a methodical approach and they held the ball, didn't make mistakes, recycled well and sent the ball through the hands to outflank and out-manoeuvre the Hurricanes.

Nothing too fancy - just good, basic play with few errors and good support play. The only time the Hurricanes did anything similar, they scored in the corner with that consolation try to Blade Thompson. Other than that, they mostly went sideways, apart from a couple of bumping runs by Julian Savea.

Talking about Savea, he is one of the internationals and near-internationals who are not doing enough to lift this side. You can point the finger at Mark Hammett, in his fourth season as coach, but he has a bunch of senior players who aren't doing the business.

Savea was out of position a lot defensively, prop Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen is supposed to be on the All Black selectors' radar but won't be on this display, Cory Jane barely got involved, Beauden Barrett, Ben Franks and Jeremy Thrush all didn't look like their All Black selves.

Yes, the Hurricanes have injuries but they also have a lack of penetration and it is hard to see a solution to that.

- Herald on Sunday

Richard Loe

Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

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