There are enough hypothetical questions flying about over the Super Rugby travel and playoffs permutations to drive a man crazy.

Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles, for one, only has eyes for the Crusaders, at 5.15pm tomorrow night in Christchurch.

There's no point in tying oneself in a knot doing sums and worrying about matches out of one's control as the integrity of this Super Rugby competition justifiably takes a hammering. That is the job of the media. Coles is certainly not thinking about preferences on who they could play in a week for the quarter-finals.

His job is to get on top of Codie Taylor in his core hooking roles in the face of an All Blacks' front-row that will surely seek to put the heat on the Hurricanes.


"They are a quality side, quality set-piece, so it's going to be a massive battle against them," Coles said.

"(Codie) had a pretty good mentor in Corey Flynn, who was a strong scrummager. He's got great set-piece (skills) and he can play out wide as well. He's a good Horowhenua lad, so there must be something in the water up there."

Coles' demeanour with referees came under the spotlight after an occasionally fractious clash with the Waratahs last weekend, but coach Chris Boyd is unconcerned about his skipper's manner or approach, nor does he think there is anything in suggestions that his side tend to "goad" the opposition with their aggression.

"He's high octane, high emotion and he's been outstanding for us in our leadership capacity. He's not a calming influence, but he has a unique leadership style that has suited us very well this year," says Boyd.

"We're not lillywhite, because in the end it is a physical confrontational sport, but I think we play well inside the boundaries of what is physically appropriate and what is ethically right for the game. We certainly have no intention to go out to goad or rark up anybody, and the Crusaders will be no different to the Waratahs last week."

That does not mean the breakdown will be any less willing or bone-rattling, and there are myriad occasions over the history of Hurricanes-Crusaders clashes when that physicality has threatened to boil over. Richie McCaw was often at the centre of Hurricane frustration, as two incidents involving Jerry Collins and Neemia Tialata highlighted.

But history, and especially the Hurricanes' 70-point pre-season pumping of the Crusaders, carries little relevance now.

More germane are the fascinating match-ups across the park for this clash. The dynamic Ardie Savea goes up against New Zealand's most under-rated player, Matt Todd, a man who seldom plays less than a top game, while lineout aces Kieran Read and Victor Vito butt heads, potentially for the last time. Richie Mo'unga, who has shown his class in 2016, tests himself against the man who would be king, Beauden Barrett. Cory Jane is stealing himself for a Nemani Nadolo physical examination.