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Hurricanes expect tough defensive night

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Lynn McConnell     14 Apr 2017     Getty Images

Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree said: "They can play an exciting brand of rugby, they can play all over the park and give the ball a bit of width but they've also got some really big carriers who can give them go-forward so defensively we're going to have to be on the job," he said.

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"It's probably going to be our toughest defensive assignment to date. They've got so many big threats in the mid-field with Sonny Bill [Williams] back and Rieko [Ioane] there so it's going to be a big task looking after their big ball carriers," he said.

The Hurricanes go into the game still down on full strength with skipper and hooker Dane Coles still out and centre Matt Proctor having to go through concussion protocols after a head knock last week.

It was expected he would be back in action next week.

"We've got to make sure we get his return to play right, and that we don't push him too hard. We've got a bye week coming up after the Brumbies so if he doesn't make the Brumbies he will have another week and we will be able to work him pretty hard," he said.

Wes Goosen had been preferred to Cory Jane on the right wing.

"We were really happy with Wes' game last week and felt he played really well. Obviously, we've got a bit of choice there with CJ and Julian [Savea] so it was a pretty tough call to make."
However, Vince Aso as being moved to centre from wing, a position he had played well in last year and while the adjustment was not that easy they were confident he could handle the role.

Ardie Savea had been showing signs of nearly being back to 100 percent but a final decision would be made on him turning out at No.8 after Thursday training.

As both sides liked to play an open style of game he was hopeful the bad weather would have moved on, as forecasts had predicted, to allow a good track for the game.

Having lost to the Chiefs in Hamilton in wet weather the need to be more accurate in kicking, and more aggressive in defence, had been good lessons.

Goosen said he was delighted to be given the opportunity of a start and was looking to 'have some fun' out on the field.

"There's heaps of competition so it brings the best out of everyone, there's pressure to perform it makes you want to perform at your highest level," he said.

Playing on the right wing wasn't a concern, he was just happy to have the chance and he felt there was little difference – 'catch the ball, run fast, it's all the same', he said.