Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Voices of experience give Canes valuable guidance

Tim Bateman. Photo / Getty Images
Tim Bateman. Photo / Getty Images

The Hurricanes won't lack for clear communication this weekend.

As Mark Hammett's side welcome back Victor Vito and Cory Jane from their injuries, the international pair bring with them a dose of leadership.

The Hurricanes were well served by having second-five Tim Bateman back on deck during last week's victory over the Crusaders and it seems they just need some more on-field guidance to temper their youthful enthusiasm.

While their loose forwards have been effective this season, none are talkers, so Vito's insertion to the No8 jersey to collaborate with Jack Lam and Faifili Levave against the Bulls in Napier tomorrow is well-timed.

Dynamic blindside flanker Brad Shields will also return from a knee injury, but will play from the bench.

The Hurricanes have covered the spectrum this season, looking awful in patches and producing their breathtaking best at other times.

Picking which side will turn up at McLean Park tomorrow isn't easy, but their back three will also have another crucial voice in Jane.

Like the loose forward mix, the Hurricanes' outside backs are a highly competitive unit and Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea and fullback Andre Taylor have looked bright in recent weeks. Jane doesn't have any concerns about returning this week.

"It's easy. I just go out there and play my game," he said.

"I like to talk. I'm pretty good at knowing rugby, looking for cues on what they're going to bring as well. I can help out my teammates, so there's no pressure at all because that's how I play my game."

One of the more headache-inducing problems for the Hurricanes will be finding a way to stop the Bulls' rolling maul, which is a feature of the South Africans' play.

Hammett had concerns about how officials policed the rolling maul, but and said he had given up on seeking a pre-game chat with referees as this had yielded little success.

- NZ Herald

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