Rugby: Canes coach Chris Boyd sympathises with endangered Super franchises

Chris Boyd, coach of the Hurricanes, speaks after the game against the Sunwolves. Photo/Photosport
Chris Boyd, coach of the Hurricanes, speaks after the game against the Sunwolves. Photo/Photosport

Chris Boyd does not really want to be thinking about the Force, Kings and Cheetahs, when he has the Blues on this Saturday's menu.

But the Hurricanes coach was always going to be fired a few questions on the Super Rugby shake-up for 2018, which will likely see those three franchises axed.

Boyd, who coached in the Republic, with John Plumtree at the Sharks, has empathy for those in the firing line.

"I'm not paid to have thoughts on Sanzaar, but I do feel some sympathy for the management and clubs and players in South Africa and Australia. They'll be worried about whether they will have a job next year.

"That's a tough place to be. If the powers that be deem we will have 15 in the competition, then so be it, we'll have 15," says Boyd, who is endorsing South Africa remaining in Super Rugby long-term, amid recent speculation.

Boyd and the Hurricanes did a thorough and honest debrief after Friday night's 38-28 win over the Waratahs.

It is a measure of the high standards this team sets that they were not happy at all with the second spell, despite playing rugby - minus Dane Coles and the Saveas - on another level in the first half, effectively killing off the contest there and then.

Due to the lack of integrity in the Super standings, the Hurricanes find themselves in fifth position, even though they have consistently played the best attacking rugby of 2017.

But they have leapfrogged the Chiefs into second on the New Zealand conference.

"We were quite disappointed with how that second 40 went," says lock Michael Fatialofa, who was in fine aerial and general play form against the Waratahs, and will be seeking to get one up on many of his Auckland provincial teammates.

"It almost felt as if we had lost the game. Even today, we were a bit down."

Boyd felt the breakdown and decision-making were two concerns from that second spell.

Now for the Blues, and Boyd knows they will be desperate, after dropping back to the foot of the conference table. In 2016, the Hurricanes had to fight tooth and nail to win 23-19, and snap their two-game losing streak to open their season.

Since then, they have peeled off 18 victories in 21 outings.

"I don't see the Blues as slumbering," says Boyd. "I think they've been a little unlucky and have a significant number of quality players in their side.

Beauden Barrett is due to front the SANZAAR judiciary via Skype last night and it would be astonishing if his red card, following two yellows, were to yield anything other than a tut-tut for any possible cynical play.

Boyd is of a similar view, feeling the first yellow card was unlucky, due to Barrett's propensity for genuine intercept attempts, as "a thief in the night".

- NZ Herald

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