Hurricanes ready for physical Bulls

Date published: May 3 2013

TJ Perenara is confident that the right mixture of physicality and discipline could see the Hurricanes upset the Bulls on Saturday.

Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara is confident that the right mixture of physicality and discipline could see his side upset the Bulls on Saturday.

The men from Wellington head into the clash at Loftus Versfeld on the back of a disappointing 18-16 defeat at the hands of the Stormers last time out.

Coach Mark Hammett would have been left ruing a host of silly errors that saw his side let the game from their grasp, and Perenara admits that they will need to put in a sustained effort for 80 minutes this weekend.

“Against any team in this competition you have to play for 80 minutes,” Perenara told Planet Rugby.

“I think for a lot of the game against the Stormers we played really well, but when we took our eye off the ball they really took advantage and made us pay with some quick tries and that really cost us at the end of the game.”

Key to any victory over the Bulls will be a combination of physicality and discipline, with Pierre Spies' team having out-muscled many an opponent over the years while Morne Steyn's boot is a well known lethal weapon.

“A lot of the South African teams in particular are very physical and we're going to have to go into this game with the mindset that we will have to step up,” explained the number nine.

“We're going to have to put in big shots because we'll have big ball carriers running at us so it's a gain where our attitude is going to have to be 100 percent.

“Every team that plays against the Bulls knows that Morne can kick from anywhere, especially at Loftus where he can kick from 50 meters out,” he added of Steyn.

“Discipline is a huge thing; you don't want to be giving away penalties because from anywhere from halfway to the goal-line he will punish you. He can win a game by himself just kicking penalties so we have a big emphasis on not giving away too many penalties tomorrow night.”

One man who could prove key for the Hurricanes is flanker Brad Shields who has been one of the 'Canes' standout players this season.

“He's young and he's raw and he just plays his game,” Perenara raved of the 22-year-old.

“He's very skillful and he's big and he's fast and I think a lot of people underestimate how quick he is – when he gets in space he can really hurt other teams and he's a huge weapon for us.”

Last year Perenara's impressive debut season ended in misfortune when he broke his ankle in a friendly against the Reds, putting him out of action for six months with an All Black jersey very much on the horizon. It appears the injury has only made the 21-year-old hungrier for a place in Steve Hansen's squad.

“I've always had a goal for myself and that is to definitely to play at the pinnacle of rugby and that is the All Blacks,” he said.

“I think everyone in New Zealand has that goal and I think it's a good one to have – if you're not playing to be better and to be the best you probably shouldn't be playing.”

After setting the bar so high in 2012, there may be extra pressure on the Porirua native to perform this time around, but Perenara insists that the only pressure he feels is from himself and that this has not changed.

“I feel a little nervous going into every game because I expect myself to perform – whether it's my first game or my 20th game I expect high standards from myself,” he said.

“I guess other people's expectations of me may have changed but for me it's about setting the same realistic expectations of yourself week in and week out.”

By Julia Harris