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Aisle be Back: Hurricanes v Chiefs (semi-final)

  • By Kevin McCarthy

I hope you’re all looking forward to next week’s Blues v Chiefs final of Super Rugby. For the pundits have been speaking long and loudly this week.

In the main, although not exclusively, the narrative is that the Chiefs are timing their run to perfection and will have the power and guile to blow away the Hurricanes.

Elsewhere a headline proclaimed Why New Zealand Rugby Needs the Blues to win Super Rugby. Ah yes, of course it does. I don’t know what the article went on to argue – fortunately, it is behind a paywall, and thus I am spared the joys of my head exploding.

I guess at the 25 minute mark of last week’s quarter against the Rebels, one might have agreed. The Hurricanes looked like a terrible cover band, exquisitely playing all the worst legacy hits – helter skelter, dropped passes, poor decision making, yet mixed in with some sublime touches. The stuff every single Hurricanes fan has lived through too many times to remember. I still can’t quite erase a certain match against the Bulls one year – they even wore orange.

Even as the flick was switched in the second forty, there was the disturbing mini two-try comeback, that also had ghosts of the past where the Canes rather switch off.

But other than that, it was in the end rather a good throat clearer. Leave some rubbish out there; after all who will remember an exquisite quarter final win, if it goes nowhere.

So, by all means, pump up the tyres of the Chiefs after their despatching of the Reds. Nothing better for the Hurricanes than going into a home semi, with 30 thousand plus home supporters, and firmly embracing the underdog status.

Of course, the Chiefs could win, as they might have done in round robin stages. They’re like the Hurricanes of most years – the team you probably don’t want to face in knockout stage.

They should come to Wellington full of confidence. But there is a reason that teams scrap for home advantage. The stadium will, hopefully, be a hostile place this Saturday afternoon. Hostile in a respectful, appreciative way, but also a place where the visitors are in no doubt they’re a long way from the Waikato.

The home team will know what they have to do. Win the scrap upfront and play with the verve and enterprise that has got them this far. The crowd should know their job too.  Cheer every battle won, no matter how small, and roar on attack and defence. Don’t go into your shells when the tide, as it inevitably will sometimes, starts to flow against the Canes.

If it comes down to the last few seconds – as it may well do – then that cake tin needs to shake. If we aren’t in the final a week from now, after  such a good season, it will be incredibly disappointing. So, let’s make sure that doesn’t happen – and that the 2024 Canes live up to the heroes of 2016.

I am sure they will.

The Hurricanes team to take on the Chiefs, Saturday 4:35pm.

  1. Pouri-Rakete-Stones
  2. Asafo Aumua
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Justin Sangster
  5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
  6. Brad Shields ©
  7. Peter Lakai
  8. Brayden Iose
  9. TJ Perenara
  10. Brett Cameron
  11. Salesi Rayasi
  12. Jordie Barrett
  13. Billy Proctor
  14. Josh Moorby
  15. Ruben Love
  16. James O’Reilly
  17. Tevita Mafileo
  18. Pasilio Tosi
  19. James Tucker
  20. Devan Flanders
  21. Du’Plessis Kirifi
  22. Richard Judd
  23. Bailyn Sullivan

Unavailable: Caleb Delany, Ben Grant, Xavier Numia, Cam Roigard

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