Hurricanes make only one change to bench
May 1, 2014
Julian Savea will make his 50th appearance for the Hurricanes © Getty Images
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has made just one injury-enforced change to his bench for the match against New South Wales Waratahs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, scrum-half Billy Guyton selected after Chris Smylie was ruled out with a hamstring strain.
Hammett made just one change to his starting team in his two previous team announcements, both at prop, and the team has reaped rewards from that stability with a four-game winning streak that has propelled them to the top of the New Zealand conference. Only once before have the Hurricanes won five Super Rugby matches on the bounce, in 2003, when they won seven games on end, but they face the Waratahs having scored five tries in beating Queensland Reds 35-21 last week, pushing them further clear as the competition's top try scorers (31) and points scorers (267). They also know they scored four tries in recording comprehensive wins in their past two meetings with the Tahs - including a 33-12 triumph in Sydney two years ago.
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"I'm not sure that it brings a pressure but if it does, it's a good one," Hammett said of his team's form. "If you want to make the play-offs, you've got to live with that."
Hammett rejected suggestions that his team had suddenly found a winning formula after losing four of their first five matches, saying tweaks to their defensive kicking game and a reduced injury toll were the only noticeable differences from the early rounds. "It hasn't been about just clicking. It's been since week one that we've worked towards this."
All Blacks wing Julian Savea and lock James Broadhurst will each play their 50th match for the Hurricanes..
Hurricanes: Andre Taylor; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (captain), Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave; James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush; Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Replacements: Motu Matu'u, Chris Eves, Reggie Goodes, Blade Thomson, Ardie Savea, Billy Guyton, Tim Bateman, Matt Proctor.