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Breakdown battle looms again for Hurricanes

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Lynn McConnell     04 Apr 2017     Getty Images

They will have to do with possibly without flanker Ardie Savea who left the field with assistance in Brisbane on Saturday. He had recovered well from what was a niggly calf muscle but would be 'pretty doubtful' for the Waratahs game, assistant coach Jason Holland said.

However, Holland said hooker Dane Coles, loose forward Vaea Fifita and wing Cory Jane were all likely to be considered for the weekend. Nehe Milner-Skudder was still likely to be about another three weeks.

Holland was asked if centre Matt Proctor was an unsung hero in the backline and he said he felt he wasn't getting the plaudits he deserved.

"He's been unbelievable for us and you might see him carrying the ball really well but some of the stuff he is doing off the ball and working back and making some tackles, he's been really special for us and a massive part of what we've been doing," he said.

If higher recognition was his goal he just had to keep performing and doing as he was for the Hurricanes.

"I don't think he worries too much about that, he's focused on what he's doing and that's probably a strength of his," he said.

Looking to the weekend they were aware of another contest looming at the breakdown with Michael Hooper doing well in that department, just as veteran George Smith had for the Reds on Saturday.

"We want to play with tempo and playing with tempo means we have got to move those boys pretty quick and we've got to carry well so that's a bit of a focus for us this week and it was last week as well," he said.

Another consideration will be goal-kicking duties after Jordie Barrett filled in for brother Beauden in Brisbane.

His choice as goal-kicker in Brisbane had occurred because Beauden had a rib issue and wasn't able to kick as usual. Who would kick this weekend would be decided at training later in the week.

It wasn't something where the solo nature of the goal-kicking craft resulted in extra nervousness.

"You practice during the week as though the pressure is on you and you try to get into a routine where you try to block everything out and just try to enjoy it as much as possible and not let the occasion get to you," he said.

He said he was happy with how his game was tracking in his first full season of Super Rugby while the side had been going well lately.

"We've found a bit of form at the moment so we are hoping to keep our run going," he said.