Hurricanes don't look like playoffs contenders

23:05, Feb 24 2013
Hurricanes v Blues
Julian Savea dives over for try during the Hurricanes opening loss to the Blues.
Hurricanes v Blues
TJ Perenara gets caught in a tackle during the Hurricanes' Super Rugby opener against the Blues.
Hurricanes v Blues
Hurricanes players stand dejected after losing to the Blues in their season opener.
Hurricanes v Blues
Jeremy Thrush brings down a lineout ball during the loss to the Blues.
TJ Perenara
TJ Perenara gets a pass away against the Queensland Reds.
Andre Taylor
Andre Taylor attempts to make a tackle on a Queensland Reds player.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea kicks ahead against the Queensland Reds.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith (left) and Faifili Levave during the game against the Queensland Reds.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea breaks the tackle of Dan Carter.
Chris Smylie
Chris Smylie flings the ball wide for the Hurricanes.
TJ Perenara
TJ Perenara is taken in a tackle by a Crusaders player.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith (left) and James Marshall celebrate after the Hurricanes one-point win over the Crusaders.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
TJ Perenara tries to break through the Highlanders' tackle during his sides round five win.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Beauden Barrett offloads to a teammate during the Hurricanes' win over the Highlanders.
Hurricanes v Highlanders
Tusi Pisi makes a break for the Hurricanes during their win over the Highlanders.
Hurricanes 2013 Season
Alapati Leiua scores for the Hurricanes during their victory over the Southern Kings in Wellington.
Hurricanes 2013 Season
Ben May scores scores for the Hurricanes during their victory over the Southern Kings in Wellington.
Hurricanes 2013 Season
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes is tackled by Wimpie van der Walt of the Kings during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Kings.
Hurricanes 2013 Season
Ben May of the Hurricanes tussles with David Bulbring of the Kings in a maul during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Kings.
Hurricanes 2013 Season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes beats the tackle of Sergeal Petersen of the Kings to score a try during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Kings.
Hurricanes 2013 season
Tim Bateman of the Hurricanes is tackled by Pat McCutcheon, left, and Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Waratahs during their round eight clash in Wellington.
Hurricanes season 2013
All Blacks wing Julian Savea is tackled by Adam Ashley-Cooper of the Waratahs.
Hurricanes season 2013
Julian Savea breaks the tackle of Sekope Kepu in the Hurricanes clash with the Waratahs in Wellington.
Hurricanes
Ardie Savea gets a real taste of Super Rugby against the Waratahs.
Hurricanes v Waratahs
Julian Savea breaks away for a try during the Hurricanes' win over the Waratahs.
Hurricanes v Waratahs
Reggie Goodes looks for the offload as he is tackled by a Waratahs player.
Hurricanes v Waratahs
Motu Matu'u dives over for a try against the Waratahs.
Hurricanes v Waratahs
TJ Perenara prepares to kick as the Hurricanes beat the Waratahs in Wellington.
Hurricanes v Blues
A dejected Hurricanes outfit walks off the field after their loss to the Blues at Eden Park.
Hurricanes v Blues
Julian (L) and Ardie Savea share a moment during the game against the Blues.
Hurricanes v Blues
Brad Shields tries to break through the Blues' defence.
Hurricanes v Blues
Motu Matu'u prepares to charge through Chris Noakes of the Blues.
Hurricanes gallery
Captain Hurricanes fires up the fans ahead of the home game against the Western Force.
Hurricanes gallery
Andre Taylor takes on the Force defence.
Hurricanes gallery
Julian Savea on the charge against the Western Force.
Hurricanes gallery
Jeremy Thrush (No 4) celebrates the victory over the Force at the final whistle.
Hurricanes v Stormers
Tusi Pisi tries to break through a Stormers tackle.
Hurricanes v Stormers
Matt Proctor scores on debut against the Stormers.
Hurricanes v Stormers
Victor Vito prepares for a tackle during the Hurricanes loss to the Stormers in Palmerston North.
Hurricanes v Stormers
Alapati Leiua in action against the Stormers.
Hurricanes v Stormers
TJ Perenara gets the offload away.
Hurricanes gallery
Ben May charges ahead against the Bulls in Pretoria.
Hurricanes gallery
Andre Taylor is wrapped up in the tackle.
Hurricanes gallery
TJ Perenara spins the ball wide.
Hurricanes gallery
Victor Vito (No 8) crunches Bulls opposite number Pierre Spies in a tackle.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Tim Bateman offloads during the Hurricanes win over the Cheetahs.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Try-scorer TJ Perenara makes a break against the Cheetahs.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Stand-in captain and try-scorer Victor Vito in action against the Cheetahs.
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
Beauden Barrett makes a pass as the Hurricanes beat the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Hurricanes players (left) lament their loss to the Chiefs.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Ray Lee-Lo is tackled Pauliasi Manu of the Chiefs.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett lays down the law to his players ahead of the clash with the Chiefs.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen makes a break against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes season 2013
Faifili Levave of the Hurricanes makes little ground against the Brumbies' defence during their Round 16 Super Rugby clash.
Hurricanes season 2013
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes runs the ball against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Hurricanes season 2013
Hurricanes prop Ben Franks tackles Peter Kimlin of the Brumbies during their Round 16 Super Rugby clash in Canberra.
Hurricanes season 2013
Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg is swamped by the Hurricanes' defence.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
TJ Perenara dots down for the Hurricanes while Chiefs captain Craig Clarke protests.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Beaudeb Barrett gets a pass away against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Jeremy Thrush climbs high to win a lineout against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
The Hurricanes wait on Waikato Stadium for their opponents the Chiefs.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Julian Savea of the Hurricanes runs the ball during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Victor Vito of the Hurricanes makes a break during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes passes during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Hurricanes gallery 2013
Rey Lee-Lo of the Hurricanes fends Tamati Ellison of the Highlanders off during their round 19 Super Rugby match.
Hurricanes 2013
Julian Savea in action against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes 2013
Hurricanes players celebrate after scoring a try against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes 2013
Brad Shields goes in to score a try for the Hurricanes against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes 2013
Beauden Barrett gets a kick away against the Crusaders.

A few things were revealed at the weekend. And I'm not talking about the streaker Ruben Wiki dealt to at the Warriors match, either.

The first is the Hurricanes are not title contenders. In fact, on the evidence of Saturday night's performance against the Blues, they are not playoff contenders either.

Whether their mid-table efforts from a year ago filled them with a false sense of how good they actually are is uncertain. What is not is the fact that if they have too many repeat performances like that, they won't be winning too many games against the better sides in this competition.

Hurricanes
POOR SHOWING: Hurricanes players react after allowing a try to Frank Halai.

They do deserve some slack, given it was their first game, but for me, they just looked too regimented, with the players almost appearing to look like they were thinking too much on the field instead of just playing naturally.

There will be plenty of debate around the awarding of a penalty try after Frank Halai battered the ball dead, but, for me, it was justified, as was the yellow card.

It was a deliberate act to stop a try being scored and I applaud veteran Vinny Munro for making the call.

Advertisement

It was also disappointing to see just 10,500 at the Cake Tin, a figure that looked inflated and must have included about 5000 who were enjoying the corporate hospitality.

If the Hurricanes players were hoping to feed off the energy of the crowd, they would have been left hungry. It must be deflating for the players to run out and see so many empty seats.

Another revelation from the weekend is that Blues fullback Charles Piutau will be an All Black before the end of June.

I would watch the Blues to watch him.

He is one of the most natural players I've seen in a long time and should be converted into a wing if the All Blacks keep Israel Dagg at the back.

Revelation No 3 is the Chiefs have the best coaching staff in New Zealand rugby.

Listening to rookie rake Rhys Marshall talk of the confidence Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry and Wayne Smith install in the champions is refreshing.

Coventry also provided Marshall with the necessary skill base to make his transition into Super Rugby seamless.

The Chiefs' clash with the Highlanders was far more entertaining than most of the dross dished up across the Tasman.

It will be interesting to see if the Crusaders can produce the same high level of play when they head to Eden Park on Friday night.

The final revelation is the depth of quality openers in New Zealand cricket at the moment is sick.

Hamish Rutherford and BJ Watling do not have the skill set to deal with England's Steve Finn and James Anderson and I seriously doubt Peter Fulton will change that in the test environment.

Finally, fantastic to see Central Districts win the Plunket Shield. It's a bloody hard slog from start to finish and they deserve some genuine recognition for what they have achieved.

Maybe bringing half of Auckland B into their ranks was not such a bad thing after all.

Taranaki Daily News