Hurricanes say tight five can do the job

Tough loose forwards Brad Shields and Victor Vito quashed a theory the Hurricanes have a soft underbelly.

Last week’s crushing 52-10 loss to the Brumbies was a world apart from the Hurricanes side who romped through the 2015 Super Rugby regular season, winning 13 games in style.

Heading into a repeat of last year’s final against the champion Highlanders, towering flanker Shields has called for calm.

He says Saturday’s game in Dunedin will be a chance to prove they haven’t lost last year’s mojo.

“We don’t want to get too down about ourselves.

“You don’t turn into a bad team in one game. We’ve got the goods so if we execute right, we’ll be all right.”

The loss of veteran All Blacks midfield backs Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu was a talking point in the off-season but critics now wonder if the Hurricanes’ biggest concern is the depletion of their tight five.

The team often criticised over the years for the lack of muscle to complement a flashy backline were forced to field a makeshift front five in Canberra.

All Blacks Jeremy Thrush and Ben Franks have moved to Europe, one-Test lock James Broadhurst is out indefinitely with concussion while hookers Dane Coles and Motu Matu’u are also injured.

Props Reggie Goodes and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and locks Blade Thomson and Mark Abbott, who are all starting again this week, boast considerable experience between them.

“We’ve got trust in the guys coming in,” Shields said.

“Those guys who left did a lot for us last year but we have to crack on with the guys we’ve got and try to play with the same sort of structure.”

World Cup-winning No.8 Vito didn’t expect his side to be so slow out of the blocks and is demanding better from all facets of their game.

“Physically the Brumbies took it to us. It hurts having to say that,” he said.

“You’ve got to lick your wounds in this competition. It’s only week one. But the way I was feeling, it was almost as if we lost the final all over again.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!