Hurricanes still contenders - No 9 TJ Perenara

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 04/05/2012
TJ Perenara
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
TJ PERENARA: "It's a very long competition; you get a couple of wins and you are back in the hunt. We still consider ourselves contenders for the title."

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Better lineouts, discipline needed - Retallick Lady luck turns against Chiefs Dagg's courage earns high praise Cruden's absence starting to show Form fullback rues second half blues Marshall may be dropped to development side Fekitoa the centre of attention Slade seals one-point victory for Crusaders Stormers move out of basement with victory Crusaders charge back to topple the Chiefs

Forget the battle for the New Zealand conference's wooden spoon, TJ Perenara says his goal remains the Super Rugby playoffs.

With the Chiefs, Crusaders and Highlanders all flying high, the Blues' only chance of avoiding last place among the five Kiwi franchises is catching the Hurricanes.

Hence the chatter about rugby's mythical, yet dreaded, oak utensil.

"There's been no talk here about coming last in the New Zealand conference," Hurricanes halfback Perenara said. "Our mindset is we want to be playing in the playoffs this year, that's the goal. We have to win a few games, but that's obviously the goal.

"It's a very long competition; you get a couple of wins and you are back in the hunt. We still consider ourselves contenders for the title."

Perenara's youthful confidence is a refreshing change from the usual cliches about paying no attention to the points table.

While the Hurricanes have not discussed the playoffs as a troupe, every coach, player and team is presumably aiming for a top six finish.

In reality it will take a drastic change of fortunes for the Blues to avoid finishing behind their Kiwi counterparts.

On just 12 points, they have been scratched by the TAB as possible conference winners already and would need three wins and change just to catch the Hurricanes' current total of 25 points.

Perenara's goal of reaching the playoffs has better odds though; the Hurricanes are now out to $25 to win the conference.

One area where the Hurricanes are winning this season is in the stands, with total attendance at home matches against the Highlanders, Cheetahs (in New Plymouth) and Crusaders up 47 per cent when compared with the opening three matches of 2011. The 22,000-strong crowd at the last match against the Crusaders was the biggest since 2008 and with just shy of 12,000 tickets sold for the Blues match yesterday afternoon, the upward trend is set to continue.

Just 11,016 were at Westpac Stadium to watch the Hurricanes lose 17-11 to the Blues last season.

Ad Feedback

- © Fairfax NZ News

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should there be golden point extra time in Super Rugby?

Yes. Nobody is happy with a draw.

No. The result at 80 minutes should stand.

There should be extra time, but no golden point.

Not sure.

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content