Hurricanes still searching for elusive perfection

By Daniel Richardson

Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes passes during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Kings. Photo / Getty Images.
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes passes during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Kings. Photo / Getty Images.

Hurricanes' coach Mark Hammett is still trying to find the magic formula that will see his men turn in a more efficient performance.

Hammett's Hurricanes picked up their third consecutive win with a 46-30 victory over the Super Rugby new boys, the Southern Kings, at Westpac Stadium in Wellington last night but it wasn't a display that was high on quality.

The home side made 15 errors, gave away 12 penalties and missed 11 tackles on their way to the bonus-point triumph, that looked certain only due to a late flurry of points in the final 20 minutes.

Second-half tries to Brad Shields and Alapati Leiua plus Beauden Barrett's right foot ensured the Hurricanes wouldn't be upset but Hammett wasn't too bothered by the high error rate.

"It's a combination of things. At this level, unless you're 100 per cent on in terms of that intensity, then that can happen. You'll see we went through four really good phases then we drop one.

So it's a lot of training under pressure and you prepare well,'' Hammett said after the game.

The second spell was where the Hurricanes dropped away and committed most of their sins.

They came out of the changing rooms after the split with a 29-16 lead following first-half tries to Ben May, Conrad Smith, TJ Perenara and Jeremy Thrush, and that 13-point cushion may have caused the Hurricanes to lose concentration.

``I think at one stage we went through 10 minutes where we didn't put one phase together, so that part's disappointing,'' Hammett said.

"But there was lots of good stuff, obviously getting four tries in that first half and then when we were deliberate it was quite good.''

Hammett also went to his bench early in the second half, which could have stunted their momentum, as Dane Coles suffered a knock to his thumb, while Victor Vito felt his calf tighten up, although neither injury was thought to be serious.

Thrush left the Cake Tin in an ambulance after the game with his heavily swollen ankle in a moon boot but X-rays today cleared him of any major damage. More will be known on his condition during the week.

The Hurricanes have useful depth in the second row though, and if Thrush was to be ruled out for any length of time it's likely the hard-working James Broadhurst would be summoned from development team duties to slide in to the match-day 22 ahead of this weekend's outing against the Waratahs in Wellington.

Yesterday's win moved the Hurricanes to within striking distance of the top six, and only points differential has them outside of a playoff spot after seven rounds.

The loss was the Kings' fourth on the trot and they remain in 14th place on the Super Rugby standings, only two points ahead of the Highlanders, who have been dealt five losses from as many games this year.

- APNZ

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