Sea­son takes toll on Canes


The Hur­ri­canes have be­gun to re­sem­ble a marathon run­ner hit­ting the wall.

It’s all very well for Su­per Rugby’s rank and file teams to rouse them­selves once a month. Be­ing good week af­ter week af­ter week takes quite a bit more do­ing and the toll is start­ing to tell on the Hur­ri­canes.

It’s not a ques­tion of abil­ity or de­sire or prepa­ra­tion. It’s sim­ply a re­flec­tion of how hard it is to con­sis­tently be at your men­tal peak.

The Hur­ri­canes wanted to beat the Reds by plenty on Fri­day.

In­stead they bat­tled them­selves, as much as the vis­i­tors, en route to an un­sat­is­fy­ing 38-34 vic­tory that only yielded four com­pe­ti­tion points.

The men­tal fa­tigue was plain to see in tries scored by Reds wings Filipo Dau­gunu and Jordan Pe­taia.

‘‘The [Dau­gunu] try they scored from a set-piece; we’d de­fended that a dozen times [at train­ing] dur­ing the week. We just got a con­nec­tion wrong and missed a tackle. We knew ex­actly what was com­ing,’’ Hur­ri­canes coach Chris Boyd said.

For Pe­taia’s try, TJ Per­e­nara made a bad de­ci­sion and Taniela Tupou was away.

Again, it wasn’t a struc­tural thing or a ques­tion of ef­fort. The Hur­ri­canes boast the com­pe­ti­tion’s best-per­formed de­fence. It was about mak­ing the right judge­ment.

‘‘I usu­ally go for a tackle to take him out. I went for a pas­sive tackle to try and chop him and a player like him, he’s ex­plo­sive, he’s pow­er­ful and you’ve got to put a bet­ter body on him than that,’’ Per­e­nara said.

There will be some who praise the Reds for what they did against the Hur­ri­canes. That would be fool­ish.

If it takes a 63-28 loss to the Sun­wolves to st­ing you into ac­tion, then you’re not much of a team. You’re cer­tainly not en­ti­tled to any kind of prize.

‘‘This is what the com­pe­ti­tion can do. There’s a lot of sides that are up one week, down the next,’’ said Boyd.

The Hur­ri­canes might be in­creas­ingly up and down them­selves but they keep win­ning and that’s the im­por­tant thing. Oth­er­wise there’s not much you’d re­mem­ber from the game, apart from an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing debu­tant Peter Uma­gaJensen.

Referee Ben O’Ke­effe was set to sin­bin the sec­ond five-eighth for a de­lib­er­ate knock­down, un­til Tele­vi­sion Match Of­fi­cial Glenn New­man and Per­e­nara got in his ear.

In the end O’Ke­effe ruled a knock-on against Umaga-Jensen, which was the wrong call.

Umaga-Jensen only knocked the ball on be­cause Dau­gunu pre­vented him from catch­ing it.

‘‘So there­fore he [Dau­gunu] should’ve been pe­nalised. A hun­dred per cent. At the end of the day he [O’Ke­effe] had to make a [penalty] de­ci­sion one way or another and he didn’t,’’ Boyd said.

None of which made Per­e­nara’s protests to O’Ke­effe any less amus­ing.

‘‘I thought we’d be hard done by if Pete goes to the bin there so, see­ing Ben go to his pocket, I was just mak­ing him aware of what I saw,’’ said Per­e­nara.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if the Hur­ri­canes can now get them­selves up to beat the Cru­saders in Christchurch on Fri­day.

Much of the re­spon­si­bil­ity for that will fall to the guys who are not on All Blacks duty on Auck­land, while the fit­ness of in­jured trio Michael Fa­tialofa, Vaea Fi­fita and Matt Proc­tor will be a fac­tor in that too.

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