Perenara hails ‘Canes defence

Date published: July 30 2016

Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara praised his side's defence after they booked a place in the Super Rugby final at the expense of the Chiefs.

Saturday's 25-9 win in Wellington saw the 'Canes shut out a side who put 60 points on the Stormers last week, which pleased Perenara.

"The boys will be pumped about that," the scrum-half told Sky Sports after a triumph that saw them score three tries to the Chiefs none.

"Defending for a big part of that first-half set the standard for us against a very good Chiefs team who threw a lot at us."

The Chiefs led 15-6 at the break and Perenara added that the message at half-time was to keep their try-line intact at Westpac Stadium.

"We knew we had to continue to work in the second-half as the Chiefs are a team who can hold the ball for long periods of time," he said.

"They can cut most teams apart so we knew we'd have limited ball and needed to defend well.

"We pride ourselves on our defence. It's a tough competition with some very good athletes out there. If we can keep that up then it gives us an opportunity to win games."

Perenara captained the side due to hooker Dane Coles being ruled out with a rib injury. His replacement Ricky Riccitelli performed well though and that didn't go unnoticed by the experienced scrum-half after the victory.

"Ricky's been playing some good footy for us throughout the year," he said before also finding time to praise replacement hooker Leni Apisai.

"Leni came off the bench too and can't go unrecognised. He's a very good player and if him and Ricky get another opportunity I'm sure they will stand up well again."

Perenara though expects Coles to return for next Saturday's final, admitting the All Black came close to featuring this week.

"He'll have to be broken not to play. He's a tough man who really wanted to play today. It was hard for him to sit this out but it will take a blow for him not to play next week. We'll take it day by day."