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Jane returns in revamped Hurricanes side

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Lynn McConnell     06 Apr 2017     Getty Images

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said Jane had been set to play against the Sunwolves at the start of the campaign before injuring his neck so he deserved a chance when he was ready to return and he was aware, based on the form of the backs, that it was a small opportunity and was looking forward to taking it.

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Hooker Dane Coles' knee ligament issue hadn't quite come right and his replacement Ricky Riccitelli had done well while Leni Apisai was also performing well off the bench so there were not too many stresses as a result of Coles' absence.

"If he's fit to play next week he will play," Boyd said.

Vaea Fifita was back, coming off the bench, but that was an unfamiliar role for him so Boyd said there shouldn't be too much excitement about him making his first steps back in that capacity.

Because of the demands of the season it wasn't possible to go through with a core of 15 or 23 players and that was another reason Julian Savea wasn't starting, he said.

"We need to keep 30-plus guys ticking away and getting some game time. We've run a really good development programme," he said.

However, the games organised had come to an end so the only other rugby fringe players could get was on the club scene where there was a bit of gulf in quality. So the need to keep the squad ticking over was important.

It wasn't a form issue for the wings. Boyd said he had been delighted with the form shown by Savea and Vince Aso who had both played well for the side.

Boyd was expecting a tough challenge from the Waratahs. He believed the Australians were all good sides and he was especially pleased to be able to come away from the Reds game on Saturday with five points.



The Reds were a tough side who had a good home record and it was reasonable to expect that the Waratahs would be one of the better Australian sides.

"We certainly won't be under-estimating the challenge we've got on Friday night," he said.

There were too many good players in the Australian teams for them to continue to under-perform.

Two years ago the Waratahs had come to Wellington and produced a tough, physical game to provide the only home loss for the Hurricanes in round robin play which had resulted in the Hurricanes returning the favour in Sydney last year.

This time the two sides were different combinations.

"They're a very big side and they're very physical and I'm sure they will try and dominate us again and that's just something we will need to circumvent," he said.