Beauden Barrett's all-round game will allow the Hurricanes to record their third consecutive win, in Perth this Friday, writes JON CARDINELLI.
The Hurricanes scored some important wins against the Lions and the Vodacom Bulls in South Africa, and will head into this next clash against the Force with confidence. They shouldn't be wanting for motivation, as a third-straight away win will see them well placed on the Super Rugby log.
Expect their All Blacks to make an impact in this fixture. Barrett has been one of the Hurricanes' most consistent performers over the past two seasons, both with the boot and with ball in hand. If the Force concede penalties within his kicking range, Barrett will make them pay.
He also has the ability to spark some telling counter-attacks. After two rounds, the stats indicate that the Hurricanes have won the most turnovers. The Force cannot afford to lose the ball this Friday, particularly at the breakdown. Barrett has proved to be one of the better decision-makers from broken field, and the Hurricanes have some fine finishers in Julian Savea and Cory Jane.
The Force have made four changes this week, with South African flank Brynard Stander set to play his first Super Rugby match. Zack Holmes has been preferred to Sias Ebersohn at No 10, which suggests they will aim to play a more expansive game. This strategy could backfire, however, as any error on attack could present the Hurricanes with a counter-attacking chance.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Force: 1, Hurricanes: 7
In Perth: Force: 1, Hurricanes: 2
STATS AND FACTS
– The Hurricanes have won the last six matches between these teams.
– In two of their last five wins over the Force, the Hurricanes have overturned a half-time deficit.
– The Force’s lineout (69%) and scrum (59%) success rates are the lowest in the 2015 competition.
– The Hurricanes are aiming for three consecutive away wins for the first time since June 2012.
|Team||Top point-scorer||Top try-scorer||Most metres gained||Most tackles|
|Force||Sias Ebersohn (11)||Luke Morahan, Chris Alcock, Angus Cottrell, Francois van Wyk (1)||Ben McCalman (69)||Ben McCalman (20)|
|Hurricanes||Beauden Barrett (24)||Julian Savea, Matt Proctor, TJ Perenara (1)||Jason Woodward (104)||Beauden Barrett (19)|
Force – 15 Luke Burton, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Jnr Rasolea, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Steve Mafi, 4 Sam Wykes (c), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Subs: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Sias Ebersohn, 23 Mitchell Scott.
Hurricanes – 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Brad Shields, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reggie Goodes.
Subs: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Photo: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images