It was not a productive bye week for the Hurricanes.

They lost their second ranking on the New Zealand conference to the Chiefs, James Broadhurst pulled the pin on his career after a long battle with concussion symptoms, and there is no clear picture on the other walking wounded, in particular Dane Coles, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Matt Proctor and Michael Fatialofa.

Not only that, but they are desperate to put together an 80-minute display for the first time in 2017 and will have to do so against a Stormers outfit that should be fired up after losing their last three games, and the last two by more than 50 points.

Coles' calf is showing few signs of a breakthrough from the niggles that have troubled him the last few weeks. He will come right soon, hopefully, though Hurricanes' fans will not be unduly worried as Ricky Riccitelli has proven a more than capable substitute. All Blacks fans and stakeholders may be getting twitchy, however, with the All Blacks' captain having just gone under the knife and other senior players banged up a month out from the Lions tour kickoff.


Prop Loni Uhila is, however, ready to play again, though that may be via club rugby at first.

The good news is that few sides can live with the Hurricanes when they uncork their best rugby, which they have shown in patches, and not just inspired by Beauden Barrett. The devastating second spell blitz to crush the Brumbies in Napier was a prime case in point.

TJ Perenara will return to the starting line-up after wearing the No 21 jersey against the Brumbies and he will assume the captaincy after resting up and spending more time with family.

"The Stormers are a good team and can play some very good footy. They beat the Chiefs, and we know the threats they hold. We're not reading too much into their last two results, so they'll be coming out here with a point to prove on Friday," Perenara says.

He recalls the inconsistency the Hurricanes showed in their last return from a bye, against the Reds on April 1, but does not attribute that to coming off the bye as such. Perenara marks the Hurricanes' season as a six or seven out of 10, which sounds harsh when your point differential sits at +217.

Coach Chris Boyd, fresh from sampling some of Hawke's Bay best wine, is guarding against complacency, and feels the Stormers will be dangerous, despite their poor New Zealand tour. They have the bye after this Friday and then do not leave South Africa. Their place at the head of the Africa 1 conference looks infallible.

"(They are) exceptionally dangerous. We talked about the fact that if we were on tour and had a couple of (losses) put on us, you'd want to try and right the wrong. It would be a massive, massive mistake to underestimate what they will turn out on Friday night. We are going to try and avoid falling into that space," Boyd says.

Former Wellington and Highlanders midfielder Shaun Treeby is now with the Stormers and may have the unenviable task of containing Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso, who have scored 19 tries between them in 2017.