Crunch match for Hurricanes
April 5, 2000
Hurricanes winger Tana Umaga believes Friday's match against the Canterbury Crusaders at the Westpac Trust Stadium will be the defining game of his team's Super 12 campaign.
"This will really show us how good we are. We're down to the business end now - this is when everyone starts to pick up," said Umaga.
The Hurricanes are on the back foot after last Saturday's 25-14 loss to the Auckland Blues. They remain in the top four though and if they can win three of their remaining five games, they would all but guarantee themselves a semi-final berth.
Umaga said a win on Friday would do wonders for the side's confidence before they go on tour for their last four games. "We talked about what we did and what we didn't do right against Auckland last week. We probably went away from our game plan a little - well, we didn't go away from it because we never used it. We know we've got to be on top of our game if we are going to beat the Crusaders."
Umaga has been impressed by the Crusaders' form thus far, especially Saturday's 42-36 victory over the Highlanders. "They are undefeated and watching them play, you can see they are a team that know their strengths and you can sense the unity within the team. Their forwards hunt as a pack - they play well together and look after each other out there. No one goes out by themselves, there's always two or three behind them to clean it up."
Hurricanes coach Graham Mourie will name his side on Wednesday, although it is expected to be pretty much the same side that started against the Blues last week. Dion Waller, who was dropped for that match, might earn a recall at lock after a mediocre showing by Paul Tito.
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers
Martin Gillingham looks at the state of play in the Top 14 and gives his take on the club versus country battle harming the prospects of the French side
Manu Tuilagi, Cockerill's psychological warfare and Saracens' brute strength - it is the Monday Maul