Satisfying win for Hurricanes over Crusaders
Wins over the Crusaders feel good no matter the context, or the margin of victory.
And so it was as Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett rolled out the line about the result meaning nothing, he was drowned out by his players singing the team song in Timaru on Saturday afternoon.
For the record the Hurricanes beat the Crusader 27-26, a late intercept try to midfielder Tim Bateman sealing the win after they had trailed 19-15 at halftime.
Hammett was of course right, in many ways, when he said the result was largely irrelevant in terms of the upcoming Super Rugby season.
Both sides used a large number of players including their wider training groups and Owen Franks and Dane Coles were the only current All Blacks on display.
But from a day trip to Timaru, a win, and a rousing rendition of the team song, the Hurricanes will have gained immensely from the exercise. They scored five tries, to Bateman, hooker Ash Dixon, first five-eighth James Marshall, wing Matt Proctor and replacement lock James Broadhurst.
"For a pre-season game it was quite accurate from both sides so I'm most happy with that," Hammett said. "Also we did need to defend for long periods which was a good thing. Our line speed and energy were up there and that's pleasing.
"In general I was pretty happy with the attitude. Not everything was perfect but in terms of getting fast ruck ball and getting over the advantage line it was good."
Hammett would only say the set piece was "solid" - those at the match report the Hurricanes had a decided edge at scrum time.
The Hurricanes second pre-season match is against the Rebels, in Geelong, on Saturday.
Hammett confirmed his remaining All Blacks would make that trip with the exception of captain Conrad Smith, who will likely hold off until the final pre-season match against the Chiefs.
Meanwhile, Hammett confirmed he would be bringing in a replacement player for injured All Blacks wing Cory Jane, who will have surgery on a damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Thursday.
Hammett said he was "gutted" for Jane, but believed he would bounce back.
"At the moment we are just supporting CJ.
"He put so much into the leadership of this team last year and was really excited coming back to see how the squad had come together.
"He may still play an important role while he's injured, but we need to get through the surgery first. Look, he's had some miserable news, but he's also got a baby due in March, so that balances things out a bit.
"I think he'll still play a part for us in some way."
The Dominion Post