Hurricanes coach and captained unsatisfied
April 20, 2013
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes is tackled just short of the tryline © Getty Images
The sense of frustration running through the Hurricanes was palpable after their 22-16 victory over the Western Force.
While they out-scored the Australian side three tries to one, it was a far from convincing performance as the Hurricanes struggled to impose themselves on the game, particularly in the second half when getting into opposition territory proved difficult.
Mark Hammett's side were heavily penalised at the breakdown and were reduced to 14 men for the final eight minutes as referee Nick Briant's patience ran out and he sent replacement lock James Broadhurst to the sin bin.
"I'd need to have a real good look at it but at the breakdown they got their hands on the ball a heck of a lot and we were penalised out of the game," said Hammett.
"Whether they were correct or incorrect I'm not sure. But I know just looking very quickly there were three against us that were incorrect near the end.
"It felt a wee bit harsh but we'll have to go and have a look at the tape."
There was little to split the sides in the opening quarter with only a Beauden Barrett penalty to show for all the endeavour.
Tries to prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen and flanker Brad Shields lifted the Hurricanes to a 15-3 lead by half-time.
The Hurricanes proved too strong against a spirited Western Force in Wellington%]
A second Jayden Hayward penalty for the Force early in the second half reduced the deficit before Tusi Pisi - who had a mixed night at first five-eighths - finished off a well-worked team try to push the score out to 22-6.
From then on all the momentum was with the Force and Alby Mathewson exposed them again at the lineout to make a 20-metre dash to the line before another Hayward penalty earned the Force a bonus point for finishing within seven points.
Captain Conrad Smith felt the absence of key players played a part in the Hurricanes struggles.
Cory Jane (knee), Victor Vito (calf) and Dane Coles (eye socket) were all missing.
"They are just injuries and you deal with it but you just prefer it's not all the guys sitting at the back of the bus, which it seems to be at the moment," said the All Black centre.
"It's not an excuse. We'll keep fighting. Those guys will come back and while they are gone other guys just have to step up. That's what we're going to have to do."
For the second week in a row the Hurricanes also opted to kick for space rather than keep ball in hand - especially in their own 22 - and results were mixed with Pisi often putting his side under pressure rather than relieving it.
"We go into each game with a plan and we felt there was a bit of space we could exploit," explained Smith. "If the kicks were on the money, and some of the kicks were, then I think it's a great way - especially when you're receiving kick offs or in your own 22 - to relieve pressure.
"We've got to get the balance right and when we kick we've all got to be on the same page.
"There were a couple times when we weren't quite. The guys are trying hard, they really are. It's just going to take a bit of work."