Hurricanes look to click straight away after break.

Coming off a three-week break always poses a few problems.

The Hurricanes may have played a practice game against the Crusaders last Friday in Levin but it wouldn't have been contested with the intensity of a regular season Super Rugby derby, and both sides lacked their All Blacks.

During the three-week international window the squad were given the first week off; they were on site between Monday and Thursday in week two and the third and final week saw them build towards the Crusaders match.

The Hurricanes are straight back into the fire with a tough encounter against the defending-champion Chiefs in Hamilton tomorrow. There's only an outside chance the Hurricanes could still make the playoffs.


These final three weeks of the Super Rugby regular season will pose a few questions for Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett in terms of their direction.

After the Chiefs, they meet the Highlanders at the Cake Tin then the Crusaders in Christchurch.

"It doesn't define your season, but it's also a big part of our season," Hammett said of the final three weeks.

"So we've got three New Zealand sides and when you're playing against New Zealand sides the intensity and that excitement's always easy to get up for." Should Hammett's side lose this week then getting them up for the final two games may be a challenge given there will be little to play for.

He appears to be done with veteran lock Jason Eaton given the retention of James Broadhurst and Jeremy Thrush in the second-row, with cover from Mark Reddish on the pine.

Reynold Lee-Lo will get another chance to impress as No 12 and rise in the pecking order as Tim Bateman is out for the season (knee).

One thing that did put a smile on Hammett's face yesterday was the news Thrush, 28, and fellow All Black Dane Coles had re-signed with NZ Rugby, the Hurricanes and Wellington.

"We are pretty rapt," the coach said.