Hurricanes mentally ready for Blues

Date published: June 21 2016

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Keeping Super Rugby players, not involved in the international window, switched on hasn't been too much of a problem for the Hurricanes.

Knowing they have a crucial home game against the Blues on July 2, the Hurricanes used a team building and leadership exercise at Adrenalin Forest in Porirua to challenge their players' ability to remain calm and focused under pressure.

Having to face the Blues, at home, and the Waratahs and Crusaders away in their last three games meant those qualities would be vital for the side. 

The Wellington-side are in third and sixth place place in the New Zealand Conference and overall table, respectively, but hold one of the three wildcard play-off berths in the Australasian Conference.

Head coach Chris Boyd has embraced the international Test window break for his players but still believes that his players know what is expected of them. 

"You can't keep that level of intensity up for any length of time when you aren't focusing on a game because at the end of the day the players are looking for the intensity and excitement of the contest, so we have to understand there are periods of intense concentration and periods of relief.

"We won two of three games going into the bye and had some reasonable momentum, so what we decided to do as a group is we had our first week off," Boyd told allblacks.com.

"Last week and this week we focused on strength and conditioning and a lot of core skills work. And now this week we have a warm-up match coming up against the Rebels."

Everyone but the team's All Blacks, and Samoan hooker Motu Matu'u, will travel to Melbourne on Wednesday to play the Rebels at Harlequins Rugby Club on Thursday evening.

"Everybody who is fit to play will go," he said. 

"There is a two-fold objective. One is it keeps players' combinations ticking over as we look toward the Blues and second it gives us a chance to see some of the guys who haven't had a lot of game time and assess them around some quality players and some quality opposition."

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