Plumtree : Unbeaten Hurricanes can still improve

Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree believes that his Super Rugby tournament leaders can improve on the way they are playing even though they are still unbeaten.

The Hurricanes have been the surprise of the 2015 season as they have shown the greatest improvement compared to previous years.

The Wellington based team have already got their tour of South Africa behind them and they have only played two matches at home so the draw will still be kind to them.

After six Super Rugby matches the Hurricanes have conceded the second lowest points only trailing the Brumbies by two points which indicates that their game has been built on their defence and now the attack is starting to click.

Former Sharks Super Rugby coach John Plumtree says that the players are enjoying themselves on the field because they are playing winning rugby.

“The boys are enjoying themselves because winning is way better than losing,” Plumtree told the NZ Herald.

“But every week there’s something to fix and every week’s not perfect and we are looking to improve the whole time.”

This week the Hurricanes will host South African side the Stormers who failed to fire in Dunedin on Saturday and went down 39-21 to the Highlanders and Plumtree is expecting a tough contest.

“They’ll be hurting after what happened last week,” said Plumtree.

“So we’ll be expecting them to respond pretty positively in terms of intensity.”

Last week the Stormers rested some of their Springboks but this week they look set to bring back the likes of regular captain Duane Vermeulen and Plumtree says his pack will have to toughen up.

“We’ll have to really step up in the pack.”

The Stormers weren’t the only team to rest some of their stars last week as All Blacks – Beauden Barrett, Ben Franks and Julian Savea were all rested while Dane Coles missed the Rebels match with an injured elbow but they are all likely to return for this week.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for the Stormers,” Plumtree said. “They’ve been a top side for a long period of time.”

While the turn around in the Hurricanes camp appears to have come from new coach Chris Boyd flanker Brad Shields said that it has also been down to the foundations laid by Mark Hammett during his coaching tenure from 2011-2014.

“We’ve had a similar group, a core group, that’s been around for the last three or four years,” Shields said.

“It makes a huge difference and I think we’ve all matured together. We know how each other plays, we know what makes each other tick. We are not afraid to say something if something’s not right.”

All Black midfielder Ma’a Nonu is also playing some of his best Super Rugby in recent years now that he is back in Wellington after he left the Hurricanes in 2011.

“I think the boys are just enjoying having his company around; he seems to be enjoying his footy so it’s a bonus for us that he’s playing well,” Shields said.

“His experience is probably one of the biggest things that’s rubbing off on the younger guys.”

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