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Aisle be Back: Hurricanes v Rebels

  • By Kevin McCarthy.

We couldn’t lose to the Rebels tonight, could we?

Yes, we could.  But surely it hasn’t been keeping any Hurricanes fans sleepless this week, sweating like the players were in last weekend’s thumping of the Reds.

If you can’t win the title in rounds one and two, you surely can as I keep banging on, put a dead albatross around your neck if you drop the gimmes.

Losing to the Rebels would be an albatross of epic proportions, because let’s face it, everyone else expects to beat them this season.

Of course, there was plenty to like last weekend, but no-one should get carried away. Just as no-one should assume the Crusaders have suddenly become rubbish.

In Super Rugby Aupiki, the competition is still so new, that it will continue to produce a bunch of firsts.

The Hurricanes Poua had a tough introduction, seeing a strong lead evaporate in the second half against the Chiefs Manawa, who are of course the defending champs.

Now its down to Christchurch – meeting a Matatu team that last week in Dunedin achieved its first ever Aupiki win, over the Blues.

Poua will of course face the Blues a week on, part of a double header with the Men’s team.

Interesting to see if the predicted surge of up to 40 per cent in playing numbers occurs this season. It would be a fitting follow-on to the Black Ferns last year.

Well done NZR! Now try to sort out the national side ending up with just one confirmed international this year.

And for all our brother and sisters slammed by the Cyclone let’s hope the power is on, and you can enjoy some diversion from the brutal hard yakka.

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Watching Neil Wagner bang away incessantly with the short ball in the cricket triumph of this week, I kept thinking of those two well over 30-plussers that will glue together the All Blacks in France – Messrs Retallick and Whitelock.

The axes were out for Wagner a week ago, as he leaked runs horrendously in the first test. But the Black Caps, or at least how they tell it, trusted in him and his method still. Result achieved.

I doubt the axes will be out for Retallick and Whitelock this year, even if they have quiet buildups. It’s not been a great testimony to the New Zealand system that there are no obvious young guns or even moderately aged guns banging on the door.  Patrick Tuipulotu, just to name one locking option, has well over 40 caps, but I can’t remember one superstar moment.

Still, it always tends to look that way a great duo is entering the twilight of the gods’ stage.

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I still don’t have the mental energy to devote much to the endless All Black coach space-time continuum.

Coach Foster belatedly realized the short stabbing sword left pointedly in the changing sheds by NZR was for self use, not an extra weapon to be brandished.

Having fulfilled the old Roman tradition, the way is now clear to the appointment of a new Emperor. Lay your bets now.

In the meantime, Ian Foster can as he promises to focus entirely on the All Blacks and the World Cup. Which I think most of us assumed was what he is meant to be doing.

All the best. If he wins it from here, he will deservedly be something of a legend.

[Updated] Four Hurricanes teams in action, club rugby pre-season begins this weekend

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