There will be problems everywhere Chris Boyd looks when he reviews the Hurricanes' hiding against the Brumbies.

But the coach has denied suggestions a lack of fitness was a key factor as his side began their campaign in ignominious fashion.

Last year's beaten finalists showed in Canberra none of the form that carried them to within a win of the Super Rugby title, embarrassed 52-10 by a rampant Brumbies on Friday night.

And Australia commentator Phil Kearns thought he knew where it was all going wrong, telling viewers at halftime the Hurricanes appeared to be out of shape in their season-opener.


"They look fat and they look slow and they look unfit," the former Wallabies hooker said.

"They were dominant for the first five minutes and the rest of the time they've been chasing their tails."

Kearns last year came under fire for saying referee Craig Joubert had a "shocker" after the Highlanders' semifinal win over the Waratahs, and his claims on Friday again raised eyebrows on this side of the Tasman.

Hurricanes hooker Motu Matu'u, who didn't travel with the team, tweeted his displeasure with the commentator, writing, 'Phil Kearns eat a dick', while Boyd struck a somewhat more diplomatic tone.

"Absolutely not," the coach replied when asked if Kearns' comments were accurate.

"Collectively we test and retest and put those at scrutiny against New Zealand standards, and I think on average our squad is in better condition or as good a condition as it's ever been. I'm not aware of those comments but I think they're off the mark."

The statistics from the match certainly back Boyd's assertion. The Hurricanes had no issues running the ball, amassing more metres, carries and defenders beaten than their opponents, but they were unable to establish any continuity and turn their attack into points.

Rather than fitness, Boyd's side were instead undone by continual handling errors and turnovers, recording 14 of the former and 31 of the latter as they failed to create any consistent pressure at the right end of the field.


"Clearly we don't like to lose any game but to lose and concede 50 was really disappointing for everybody," Boyd said. "We were in trouble at scrum time, we made far too many errors, we couldn't build any pressure because we kept getting slow or dead ball. And our inability to recycle phases at the breakdown was probably the key, really."

Cory Jane concurred with his coach's assessment and thought the Hurricanes' inability to retain possession led to a state of panic among his teammates once they fell behind.

"We just made too many mistakes," Jane said. "They put pressure on us with line speed - we knew it was going to come but I guess we panicked a little bit. Once we turned the ball over to them - they've got Fardy and Pocock who love stealing the ball - we panicked and were under our sticks. It's very disappointing start and it's a long way to go before we get where we want to be next week."

The Hurricanes did at least come through the contest with no injuries of note but a clean bill of health will make their next task no easier, facing a trip to Dunedin for a repeat of last year's final.

"The pride's hurt and we definitely know we're better than that," Jane said. "We know what the level of Super Rugby is going to be and we're well off the pace. So it's a big week for us."