Hurricanes keen after longer build-up

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Lynn McConnell     04 May 2018     Getty Images

Boyd said the fact the Lions beat the Hurricanes in the semifinal of last year's championship had not been too much of a factor in the build-up.

It was a different team for a different occasion. There were lessons to be taken out of the semifinal and the coaches had gone back and looked at a couple of critical things, he said.

Boyd had enjoyed the fact the Hurricanes had been able to enjoy a 'long week' of preparation. They have had nine Friday games so to have a normal week and to play on a Saturday was very good.

He admitted there was an issue for the side in the lesser games, those where they were the assured favourites, because they hadn't performed as well as they had in the bigger games they faced.

"They [the Lions] have been a little up and down with their form but I thought they were terrific against the Stormers, it was a great game of footy and I really enjoyed watching it. They were good against the Crusaders but got pipped in a pretty low scoring game and they were obviously very good to keep the Waratahs to zero a couple of weeks ago so they are more than capable," he said.

Lions coach Swys de Bruin is well known to Boyd from the time they spent together at the Sharks.

One of the aspects of playing South African teams was the need to be in the physical game, because if you weren't it made things a lot harder.

While the Highlanders had shown it was possible to beat the Bulls with 'a scrap of possession and a scrap of territory' that wasn't the sort of blueprint the Hurricanes were working from.

The game had always been a big one for the side, at home and outside the local derbies in New Zealand.

He suspected the Lions would finish the best of the South African teams come playoffs time but they may be down on the points of some other teams.

Boyd said the non-selection of Vince Aso, who had been outstanding against the Sunwolves, had been hard, but all the backs had bought into the philosophy being employed, in spite of the fact that they all wanted to be playing all the team.

However, Boyd said he had a blueprint for the next five weeks and Aso would have his chance during that time, as would other players in the squad as well in order to keep them all involved and with some playing form.

He said if he had been picking on form then Nehe Milner-Skudder may have been on the bench with Aso playing but it was also important to keep Milner-Skudder growing his minutes towards a complete return.