Hurricanes have plenty of incentive in Dunedin

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Having lost to the Crusaders last week, the Hurricanes had every incentive to get back in the winner's circle but the Shields factor was another.

He will be the 14th player to register 100 games for the Hurricanes, 99 of them in Super Rugby and the other the draw against the British & Irish Lions last year.

He joins Tana Umaga, Rodney So'oialo, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Victor Vito, Jeremy Thrush, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Neemia Tialata, Julian Savea, Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara in the 100 Club.

Coach Chris Boyd said: "There is no player who is more respected in this squad and our club than Brad and we are determined to put together a performance that recognises that on Friday.

"Brad is certainly a guy who leads and sets standards and that is reflected in everything he does, not only on the field but at training and interacting with our fans and members."

Boyd said they were disappointed with how they played in the wet in Christchurch, but they had put that behind them and were now expecting a different sort of game in Dunedin under the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof.

"We don't like to lose but we've had some performances that we didn't play well enough to win but we did," he said.

However, against better side if you got it 10 percent wrong you paid for it, and the Hurricanes did against the Crusaders, Boyd said.

Ill discipline, some poor decisions and some soft defence had all been contributing factors to their loss.

"That was the recipe that undid us, it was a combination of the lot really," he said.

The Highlanders had a very good strike game so they always had a bag of tricks and were harder to analyse than anyone else.

"They're always pretty inventive in their launch plays and their strikes and they're quite prepared to say, 'ok you have the ball and we'll knock you over if you make a mistake and we'll pick it back up again and we'll score at the other end'.

"So they've got a genuinely good all round game and I think along probably with the Chiefs they pose the biggest threat from turnover ball, they're very good at that," he said.

While they were one of the teams that used a kicking game more, their kicks were contestable and they wouldn't kick the ball long to give the Hurricanes counter-attacking chances.

Centre Matt Proctor hadn't recovered so was not considered for selection, tight-loose forward Vaea Fifita was bracketed with Murray Douglas due to a bone bruise on his shoulder. Wes Goosen also returned to the 23 after recovering from his broken jaw. No.8 Gareth Evans returns to the side replacing Blade Thomson.