Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: An ill wind in South Africa for Hurricanes

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Hurricanes players huddle before the round one Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images
Hurricanes players huddle before the round one Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images

The Hurricanes decided they would produce their best results in South Africa if they had an evening curfew.

It was a team initiative to show their intention about leaving the Republic with wins against the Lions in Johannesburg and the Sharks in Durban.

Chris Boyd and his coaching group must have been encouraged by that attitude. Even more so when the Hurricanes destroyed the Lions 50-17 at Ellis Park.

Down in Durban, team protocols went out the coastal windows when Julian and Ardie Savea, Cory Jane, Victor Vito and Chris Eves clocked in 18 minutes past the curfew.

Late is late, team sanctions had to kick in except this was no time for punishment. They had to play the Sharks four days later, which gave the Canes no time to call for replacements.

This was a bit of a jam. If the Hurricanes dropped the five culprits they would have only 22 players for the game.

Besides, the Sharks were a really strong side and the Canes needed their best players to win and keep pace with the leaders in the New Zealand conference.

They could use their remaining 22 and name one of the offenders on the bench but not use him.

At their Durban hotel the Hurricanes management would have met for a get-out-of-jail conference.

The players had scattered to various parts of the region. Some were on the golf course, others had gone cage-diving and their collective agreement meant they were entitled to the day off. Then the next day was the full noise final practice.

Let's fudge it, the management group decided. We'll go for a delay, say we need to gather all the information. We have to find the doorman, the waitress on late shift, the porter and any reception staff but they are off duty at the moment.

If we get past this game then we can do something about it. We have a full squad to pick from back home and can afford to interchange a few because we are up against the Reds.

All right, fellas, happy with that. Let's go and do the business against the Sharks.

Crash, bang, wallop. Full time 32-15 to the Sharks. Oooh hell. That's a serious flat tyre. Let's leave this other issue to fester for a few more days, give everyone time to have a shot at us and then issue our decision.

Not one of the great weeks in Hurricanes management and certainly not for senior men like Jane and Julian Savea who have form for a lack of attention.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

Read more by Wynne Gray

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