HURRICANES RECRUITMENT BALANCE
A bit like the Crusaders, their trading has been below the radar – no major names have come or gone and that means they are close to being the same squad as they were last year in terms of potential and ability.
They have signed Asafo Aumua, who would be one of the most exciting prospects in the country, but we won’t get too carried away as with Dane Coles and Ricky Riccitelli also on the books, when exactly is this young hooker going to play?
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TACTICALLY?
Again, like the Crusaders, we can’t imagine the Hurricanes feel they have to reinvent the wheel tactically in 2018.
They have a pack that can win the ball and they have enough ball carriers in it to clunk around in all the sorts of places where they should be.
The key to their season will be how much influence can TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett have each week? Can they pull the right strings, put the ball in the right places and make sure that the likes of Coles, Ardie Savea, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape and Nehe Milner-Skudder are given the space they need to rip teams open?
GUT FEEL – RISERS OR FALLERS?
Marginal risers just because they are a year older and a year wiser. Barrett is in such a good place mentally and will be hungry to win another title and there is so much ability to run with the ball and beat defenders across the team.
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
Close. Oh so close. They may even top the New Zealand Conference and have home advantage in the playoffs. But, and we don’t want to be specific, something will happen that will go against them and they will come up agonisingly short. Wow, that sounds mysterious.