Hurricanes to play more intelligent rugby

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper wants his team to play more intelligent rugby and to stop playing dumb rugby when they take on the Reds on Friday.

The Hurricanes had nine All Blacks in their starting side flung the ball about in familiar style but made a massive 35 turnovers to gift-wrap the Waratahs a 20-3 win

Cooper admitted that he didn’t see it coming after the the Hurricanes had cruised through their pre-season warm ups with plenty of tries and composed finishing.

“We’ve just got to be smarter. We lost a bit of our composure and tried to play catch-up rugby,” Cooper told NZPA.

“We had a yellow card (in the 77th minute to Ma’a Nonu for dropping his knees in a tackle) and our discipline needs to improve.

“If you make all those line breaks you’ve really got to make sure that you finish, and that you look after the ball.”

The Waratahs outscored the Hurricanes by three tries to none and the fancy running came from Waratahs fullback Lachlan Turner. League convert Timana Tahu had a hand in setting up two tries in his first competitive game of rugby union.

The Waratahs looked to have scored a fourth try to claim the bonus point but referee Craig Joubert disallowed an injury time try to replacement Sam Harris ruling that the pass was forward.

Man of the match, Wycliff Palu and Phil Waugh were a menace and comfortably matched the Hurricanes’ All Blacks trio of Rodney So’oialo, Jerry Collins and Chris Masoe.

Bearded lock Jason Eaton played the full 80 minutes in his comeback from a serious knee injury, insisted after the match that there would be no panic in the ranks ahead of this week’s Reds game.

“I’m not too sure if it was early season mistakes or adapting to the new laws and the speed. Hopefully we can address that and be a different side next week,” he told NZPA.

“It’s still early days. It’s an obvious setback for us but it’s good to know where we’re at.

“We back ourselves to play a positive, attacking style and we believe the new rules are going to favour us with the mobility of our pack. It’s going to suit us when we get going.”

Cooper said midfielder Tamati Ellison (corked thigh) and prop John Schwalger (neck and shoulder) were the injury worries to emerge from the game.

For Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie it was a big relief after overseeing last year’s woeful 13th-placed finish.

“The impressive thing for me was to keep them to no tries after they’d scored 40 points in all their trial games,” he said.

“We knocked the enthusiasm out of them and knocked them off their pattern.”   

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