Canes deny Beauden at back nod to ABs
The Hurricanes have dismissed suggestions Beauden Barrett's shift to fullback against the Cheetahs tonight is due to pressure from either the All Blacks or Blues.
There are four changes in all, Otere Black slotting into the No 10 jersey, and possibly taking the goal kicks, while Barrett starts his first Hurricanes game at the back in more than four years.
Sam Lousi makes his first start at lock in place of Mark Abbott, while Wes Goosen replaces Cory Jane on the wing, and Ben May i s back at loosehead prop.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd dismissed claims Barrett's move was due to a quiet word from All Blacks selectors wanting to see Barrett at No 15, and denied the elevation of Black was a response to the Blues' courting of the Manawatu pivot.
“Some of those changes are around minutes and volume. The change with Otere was to give him some minutes and to keep ticking over, while the decision to rest Jordie [ Barrett] was to give him less minutes. He could do without starting this week,” said Boyd.
Positional shuffling aside, the Hurricanes are putting the onus on the forwards to deliver at set piece.
Although Boyd said earlier in the week the set piece stats against the Crusaders last weekend were not as dire as first thought — a surprising declaration — the Hurricanes have been drilling their lineouts, attacking and defensive, with forwards coach Richard Watt.
The Cheetahs scored several tries off lineout drives in their 50- 32 loss to the Blues, and appeal as a team willing to chance their arm, especially as they could well be exiting the competition as one of the t wo South African franchises in proposed cuts.
The Hurricanes are also not averse to innovation, and even threw Jordie Barrett in at No 2 on a 5m lineout against the Crusaders.
He's tall and not too hefty to lift, so that idea was not as outlandish as it may have seemed.
But they would settle for a steady supply of ball as they seek a bonus point victory against the Cheetahs.
More importantly, they seek a Beauden Barrett Wes Goosen Vince Aso Ngani Laumape Julian Savea Otere Black TJ Perenara ( c) Brad Shields Ardie Savea Reed Prinsep Vaea Fifita SamLousi J Toomaga- Allen Ricky Riccitelli Ben May CBlommetjies Sergeal Petersen Francois Venter ( c) Clinton Swart Raymond Rhule Fred Zeilinga Shaun Venter Henco Venter Oupa Mohoje Uzair Cassiem Carl Wegner Armandt Koster Johan Coetzee Elandre Huggett Ox Nche slicker performance after several weeks of inconsistency.
“We've put a fair bit of time into the bits that failed last weekend, and there were a few. The Cheetahs are a very, very good attacking side,” Boyd said. “They can score tries and have averaged 31 points against New Zealand sides.”
Beauden Barrett has shifted to fullback.