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Aisle be Back: Hurricanes v Rebels and the BS

  • By Kevin McCarthy

Uneasy sits the crown. Or less Shakespearean, when are the Hurricanes going to have their banana skin game.

The BS game, of course, is the one that they surely can’t lose, yet by season’s end will be the deciding factor in say, coming first, or fourth – or worse.

When you’re top of the table after four rounds, then the banana alert starts to twitch at anything.

Take this round – playing the Rebels at home-away in Palmerston North.

I mean, any rational assessment is that the Canes will collect at least four, and hopefully five, points against the admittedly slightly overperforming Melbournians.

Yet, rationality and bananas do not mix.

So, what are the key precursors to the dreaded event.

First, a team going well.

Second, maybe getting slightly ahead of itself.

Third, opponents who have nothing to lose, and something to prove.

Fourthly, the favoured team has through chance or choice, had to field a reshuffled line-up from that which has bought success to date.

And finally, there’s no real expectation that there could be a loss.

I’d have said that four of the five above are ticked.

The outrider would be point 4 – the reshuffle. Albeit there are apparently 14 changes!

Yes, there is a reworking of the side, but the return of Du’ Plessis Kirifi, TJ Perenara, Jordie Barrett, and Brad Shields hardly suggests a team patching up weaknesses.

Indeed, all four should be chomping at the proverbial to be starting, and if anything, might need to throttle back the excitement level. And the line-up as a whole shows there is considerable depth to draw on.

It may feel like the Canes are prone to slipping up – but in fact, I would say a cursory look at past seasons shows they are possibly less vulnerable than some. Indeed, nowhere near the Chiefs – who, however, have a much better record come the business end in recent seasons.

I suspect the memory of losing to rookies Moana Pasifika two years ago still runs deep. But do not worry – this will not be the BS game.

But that just means another game could be. Oh no, the anxiety never goes away.


The mid-winter tour here by England was always going to be interesting – given it’s the first real test for Razor’s New Model All Blacks.

But it’s got tastier with the Englanders putting together a half decent Six Nations.

Capped of course at the end by scoring four tries in a storming comeback against France which just came up short.

Some of those tries weren’t too shabby, and actually scored by backs.

No-one needs to pump up England tires as the team bus is already extra-long to fit in the side’s mobile air compressor.

But the All Blacks clearly won’t face the sort of England they would have done a year ago – and that’s something to be glad about.

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