Hurricanes pack proving a point

Date published: March 16 2015

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Their star-studded backline might be getting a lot of attention but the Hurricanes coaching staff are very pleased with the pack this season.

Tied at the top of the New Zealand Conference and unbeaten this year in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes have been getting plenty of praise.

That's as much down to the dominance of their pack as their exciting backs out wide.

"Everyone talks about our Rolls-Royce backline but the perception is that it's our pack that doesn't get us over the line in games," assistant coach Richard Watt told The Dominion Post.

"They've taken that to heart, these boys this year and they're really working hard. They're not really proving doubters wrong – they're just proving themselves right."

Watt added that the group's improvement has come over the last few years, singling out the growth of players such as Brad Shields and Blade Thomson, along with the coaching of John Plumtree.

"I think the forward pack's actually been stepping up the last couple of years," added Watt.

"Anyone who knows anything about forward packs knows they take a while to develop and mature.

"So Reggie [Goodes] and Motu [Matu'u] and Ardie [Savea] and Brad [Shields] and Blade [Thomson] – when they came in two or three years ago they were young guys, no Super experience. Now they've got 40 or 50 games under their belts and are maturing as a pack.

"Plum's come in and he's spent six years in [South] Africa [with the Sharks]. Africa's pretty forward-dominated rugby so we're pretty like-minded, Plum and I. Those boys are starting to mature and reach their potential."

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