Ieremia defends Hurricanes coaches

Date published: March 10 2014

Hurricanes back-line coach Alama Ieremia has defended the Wellington-based side's coaching staff after a poor start to the season.

Hurricanes back-line coach Alama Ieremia has defended the Wellington-based side's coaching staff after the side's poor start to the season.

The Hurricanes lost 29-21 to the Brumbies in Wellington on Friday – their third defeat in as many games – but Ieremia believes basic skills rather than the game-plan was the reason for their losses.

“It just wasn't good enough,” he told Fairfax Media.

“I was furious and it's not good enough for this team, or the Hurricanes brand. I was embarrassed by what I saw.

“We need to find the answers as to why we put in a performance like that. It's unacceptable, it's disappointing, that's how I feel about it … it was the most disappointing performance since I've been coach.”

Head coach Mark Hammett has been heavily criticised for the side's poor form but Ieremia said he had his and the team's full support.

Critics allege that the Hurricanes have become too structured under Hammett's guidance but Ieremia, who played 30 Tests for the All Blacks 42 matches for the Hurricanes, disagrees.

“If anything, it seemed like a performance where we went back to what the old Hurricanes teams used to do by trying to go out of system and try to fix things individually,” he added.

“The error rate was a step backwards.

“That wasn't how we prepared to play and we had a good preparation. It's about finding answers, asking the questions as to why. We need to find a solution to why we were so out of sync.”

The Hurricanes back-line which includes some of the tournament's best attacking players in Conrad Smith, Julian Savea, Cory Jane, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara but they are yet to fire on all cylinders.

Ieremia believes turnovers were the reason these stalwarts were less effective than previous campaigns.

“We used to pride ourselves on building phases and building pressure, but there were 15 occasions in the [Brumbies] match where there were five or more phases and we only had four of them … of those four opportunities where we built multiple phases, we got three penalties and a try,” he added.

“If you look at the stats, we just haven't been able to build phases and maintain the ball for any period of time this season.

“Historically, the more pressure we build, the better the backline will function, and at the moment we just aren't getting that.

“We haven't given our attacking structure a chance … Even in Africa when we maintained our structure, we created scoring opportunities.

“We just aren't creating enough because of those inconsistencies.”