Coach Chris Boyd is confident the Hurricanes’ bye week has given them enough time to address line-out problems ahead of the Super Rugby semi-final against the Brumbies.
The set piece looms as a key contest in Wellington on Saturday night.
The Hurricanes came away frustrated with their performance in that area in beating the Chiefs in the last round of the regular season.
At the same time, Boyd is wary of the Brumbies’ line-out threat, a sentiment he backs up with statistics.
“Out of 51 tries, they’ve scored 36 from line-outs, and out of that 36, 26 have come from drives – it’s a huge number,” Boyd said.
“It would be fair to say that the line-out against the Chiefs, we were disappointed with. It wasn’t good enough and there has been quite a bit work go into that, so I think we’ll be right.”
While the Hurricanes sat out the opening weekend of play-offs after topping the table by a comfortable margin, the sixth-seeded Brumbies pulled off a 39-19 win over South African conference leaders the Stormers in Cape Town.
The semi-final will the first meeting between the Hurricanes and Brumbies this season and the hosts will have to break down opponents with the competition’s best defensive record.
Boyd could detect in the Brumbies’ style a mix of the Australian game and “a tinge of the African mentality” from former Springboks coach Jake White’s spell in charge in 2012-2013.
“They have the stingiest defence, the smallest number of line-breaks and tries conceded, the smallest number of points conceded,” he said.
“They are a very accurate side.”
Boyd said the Brumbies would miss Henry Speight if the winger was banned from the semi-final, but was also sure whoever came in would step up.
Speight faces a judicial hearing on Tuesday over a dangerous tackle charge after being sent off for his off-the-ball dangerous tackle on Stormers centre Juan de Jongh.
“You never like to lose a player at any time, particularly for a play-off,” Boyd said.
“He’s a good player, but he’s replaceable like all of them.”