Brumbies a classy outfit, say Hurricanes

Travel fatigue versus bye week malaise.


They’re both mental rather than physical problems which the Hurricanes are discounting heading into their semi-final against the Brumbies in Wellington on Saturday.

The Australian team touched down in New Zealand in the early hours of Friday morning to complete the haul from Cape Town following their impressive 39-19 thrashing of the Stormers in the qualifying final.

History almost exclusively shows that teams who travel in the play-offs fall short against higher-qualifying home sides.

Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith is having none of it, believing travel is nothing like the problem it once was, particularly for teams who know how to cope with it.

“I know myself, having done that trip a few times, that it won’t be much of a factor,” he said.

“We’re all pretty decent athletes. It’s a semi-final at a full stadium so they’ll be up for it.”

The Hurricanes are coming off a week’s break courtesy of qualifying first.

This season their two bye rounds have been followed by a patchy home win over the struggling Blues and a loss to the Waratahs – one of just two defeats in 2015.

Smith says they won’t be put off by those performances and reckons the break came at a good time.

They spent time “scrambling” to analyse the Brumbies, who they haven’t played this year but who have won their last four meetings.

Smith says he was more confident than most that the Brumbies would beat the Stormers and was surprised they had qualified as low as sixth for the play-offs given their experience and well-drilled methods.

“They’re a tidy team who have a simple plan but they do it very very well,” he said.

“They’re very good at controlling the speed of a game, the tempo.

“We always try to play a game that other teams struggle to keep up with so it’s a matter of trying to play our game and not let them strangle us.”