Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team's head coach Mark Ozich is impressed with the feedback he is getting on his members of the Hurricanes wider training group.
"Yes there are a few good learnings for the Hurricanes after a more clinical Crusaders team put them under pressure at set piece and breakdown time but they are really happy with how our crew is going with them and they have been impressed with the young ones," Ozich said after speaking to the Canes' coaching staff following Saturday's 34-19 pre-season loss in Levin.
He pointed out the likes of outside back Danny Toala, hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes and loosie Devan Flanders, who all got game time off the pine on Saturday, and first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie. who didn't, have settled in well to their four weeks of training with the Canes.
"Gareth [All Blacks No 8 Evans, who started against the Crusaders] has only recently got back from his stint in Japan and while Ben [Maori All Blacks prop May, who had game time off the subs bench] is 36 they say he is as fit as he has ever been," Ozich said.
"Geoff [lock Cridge, who also started on Saturday] is still finding his confidence at that level after a couple of injuries but is working really hard. He will get better and better with the more game time he has. Jonah [Maori All Black winger Lowe, who had a stint off the pine] is training the house down," Ozich said.
"I recently had a week down with the Hurricanes to get a feel of what they are wanting to achieve. It was a good opportunity to look at things that might work with us too."
The Hurricanes will host the Blues in their final pre-season match at Mangatainoka this Saturday from 3pm.
Ozich watched live-streamed coverage of the Highlanders 59-38 win against the Waratahs in Alexandra on Friday night. He said Magpies halfback Folau Fakatava made the most of his starting opportunity with a couple of line breaks and good work in his first taste of this level of play.
Magpies lock Michael Allardice and halfback Brad Weber started for the Chiefs side thrashed 43-10 by the Blues in Kaikohe on Saturday.