Israel Folau isn’t the only Waratah in the Hurricanes’ defensive cross-hairs as they prepare for a momentous Super Rugby clash in Sydney.
Careful analysis of the Sydneysiders has broken down their attacking methods, much of which is directed towards giving space to brilliant Wallabies back Folau.
Coach Chris Boyd says while the Hurricanes back their own attacking weapons to give the Waratahs problems on Saturday, he has spent much of his week fine-tuning the defensive structure.
“If you look at the way the Waratahs play and the positions they put Israel Folau in, there’s no doubt he is more dangerous from broken play,” Boyd said.
“They’re clever the way they put him into positions that they want to, to get the most out of his game.”
Boyd also pointed to statistics which show flanker Michael Hooper and lock Will Skelton are among the most effective attacking players in their positions in Super Rugby.
He says their involvement, often in the backline, and the go-forward they can generate is influential.
“There’s 3-4 guys who are pretty dominant in their game offensively. You’d be stupid to ignore guys like Hooper and Skelton who do a lot for them.”
Boyd says he doesn’t need to say much to motivate his players, with their season at a potential cross-roads with two rounds remaining.
Fourth overall and just three points behind the competition-leading Lions, they could yet match their top-qualifying achievement from last year.
Yet if they lose in Sydney, they are under threat to miss the play-offs, with the Waratahs potentially the team to snatch a wildcard spot from them.