Hurricanes bank scratchy win and look ahead

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Sunday, March 4, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Coach Chris Boyd was thankful the Hurricanes had been able to lift themselves above their effort against the Bulls and was looking to turn his thoughts to the weekend once they were on the flight home.


He wasn't reading too much into the Crusaders losing first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga to a broken jaw because he rated possible replacements Mitchell Hunt and Mike Delany highly.

The bonus point win over the Jaguares had been important because while their situation would not have been terminal if they returned without any wins, it would have been tough, especially knowing their next two games were against the Crusaders and Highlanders.

Boyd said the demand from the side had been to be more clinical and more accurate with a higher level of intensity and work rate, and they had been tested heavily on occasions at the set-piece and defensively on their own line, and they stood up well.

"The ability to soak up their pressure and not concede was particularly pleasing," he said.

"We had patches where we were good but we had times that we were a bit loose and a little bit inaccurate."

The area that was significantly different from their loss to the Bulls a week earlier was their ability to get off the line defensively and to keep knocking the Jaguares over.

"It was a long way from a complete performance, a long, long way, but I think it was a step in the right direction after a poor performance last week," he said.

Flanker Ardie Savea had a heavy day on the tackle, and at the breakdown, against the big Jaguares forwards. And Boyd said they weren't prepared to take him off until they had control of the game.

When that happened with about 15-20 minutes left they brought Blade Thomson on in his place and he had done a good job off the bench.

"That loose forward trio for us is pretty competitive and we're lucky we've got some good choices in that space, but Ardie was good," he said.

"We talked about composure and trying to be a bit clinical and it took us a long time to decide to kick a goal we kept battering away looking at the five or seven point options rather than three, and I'm pretty relaxed about that, but if you're going to turn down three to chase five or seven then you have to make sure you are more clinical than they were at times," he said.

The 10-15 minutes after halftime had been the worst patch of the game for the Hurricanes. They had talked during the break of control, composure and being more ruthless and staying in the plan.

But they didn't do that and it had taken them a while to settle back into their rhythm and build some pressure before turning that into points.