Hurricanes stepped up in first outing

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Lynn McConnell     26 Feb 2017     Getty Images

Assistant coach John Plumtree said last season's success had given the squad more confidence and they were looking to build on that this year.

"The challenges are going to be a lot greater coming up than what we faced today but everything we do we are trying to do better. The players are buying into that and the leaders are driving it and that's the pleasing thing," he said.

With No.8 Blade Thomson suffering a shoulder injury and yellow card for Michael Fatialofa that took him out of the last 10 minutes it had been hard to maintain momentum through the latter stages.

He said there had been a lot of effort put into preparation during the week as the result of travel to Tokyo but also because some younger players were being given an opportunity.

He felt first five-eighths Otere Black and wing Vince Aso, who replaced Cory Jane when he suffered a neck injury at the captain's run which was causing him discomfort and which will be checked out when the team returns to New Zealand, had both played well.

"I thought everyone stepped up and in this competition we are going to need that because it is obviously long and we get these injuries," he said.

It appeared Thomson's shoulder injury could see him out for several weeks. It will be scanned when the side get back to Wellington.

"We're really delighted with the way the team played. The way we attacked, through some good passing or accurate kicking we put the Sunwolves under a lot of pressure," he said.

There had been some good work around the contact area and in off-loading while the option-taking had also been accurate.

"I think people would have enjoyed watching some of that rugby we played. We wanted to play accurately in the back end of our own field. We wanted to exit really well, we wanted to put them under pressure with the pressure of our defence.

"Our set-piece was functioning well enough and we just wanted to make sure the intensity that we played the game at was really fast. We thought if we could do that we would put them under a lot of pressure," he said.