- By Kevin McCarthy
When it was obvious Ardie Savea was going to sit out last week with a citing, I joked to a workmate that the Hurricanes didn’t need him, the team was that good.
Of course, we did and do need him. I am pretty sure, although we can never know, that some how Mr Savea would have found the way on Saturday night against the Blues to make that last few metres and secure a win.
What a hot mess that match was though. The first half I spent with a permanent scowl, thinking this isn’t the worst 40 I’ve seen at the stadium, but somewhere in the top 5. That the Blues managed to have a commanding lead by halftime was hardly a tribute to them – as they seemed intent on generally butchering their possession with a slew of dropped balls.
The Hurricanes on the other hand seemed determined to stay on the wrong side of the ref, who became a firm crowd favourite for the rest of the night.
Neither side could goal kick consistently. And the TMO seemed to be the most active participant on the night. If this is the new, sped up version of Super Rugby, then I’d like to know who to ask back for the 20 minutes I conservatively estimate were tagged onto the match duration by referrals.
However, I decided the ill correlation was due to where I was sitting, and after a quick circuit of the Tin at halftime, plonked myself in what I think was the kids’ zone, which is kind of a perpetual motion machine of youngsters running up and down the stairwells. It’s a tribute to their rugby nous that mostly they ignored what was in front of them.
The Canes, as you’ll know, staged a quite meritorious comeback but camped on the Blues’ line, ultimately could find neither bludgeon, nor rapier. Give credit to both teams, they have defensive starch and a will to tackle, both attributes needed for later on when the going starts getting tough.
The upside of course was that I’d managed to miss the upset result out of Lautoka, so the next morning, as I watched France devour the Roast Beefs by 50 points, there was the added joy of realising the Crusaders are 1 from 3. Not that this really means too much early in the season. I must check back and see how many games you need to drop to rule out getting home advantage – I suspect 4 or 5.
Sitting writing this in the morning, with wind and rain pelting the windows, it’s hard to believe that it will probably be fine enough by this evening for the Waratahs. If not, expect the usual miserable showing by a trans-Tasman visitor facing the three forces of nature – wind and rain and a grumpy Ardie Savea.
The Hurricanes Poua have the joy of facing the Chiefs Manawa on Saturday in Albany in the semis of the Super Aupiki. That was a costly late collapse against the Blues Women on Saturday.
Still, maybe just maybe the Poua can repeat their first half of the round robin against Manawa, when they had a good lead. But you wouldn’t put money on the result favouring anything other than the Northerners.
Does anyone really know whether the Hurricanes fans will sing Kini Naholo’s name to the White Stripes anthem, Seven Nation Army, just as they did to brother Waisake down in the deep south.
Hard to say. A brilliant Hurricanes debut for the Fijian after his staggering time off for injury, and it’s hard to see it not happen.
I am sure we can sing it better than the Highlanders fans anyway.