Rugby Union

The Hurricanes looking to go all the way

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Despite never winning the Super 15 crown, and only ever reaching the final once before this season, the Hurricanes are in the form of their life and are the bookies favourite to take home the crown this year.

Their impervious form is reflected in the sheer number of the squad who have been selected in the All Black's wider training group, 12 to be precise. Head coach Steve Hansen has included the entire back line, showing an extreme confidence in the Wellington based club and their ability.

Exciting play-maker Nehe Milner-Skudder has been brought in as fullback and wing cover after an outstanding year with the hurricanes, which has seen him force his way into a starting position nearly every week.

A 'highlight reel' type of player, his step and agility has embarrassed so many top level defenders it would be a travesty to see him omitted from the squad when Hansen trims the group into a 31 man squad.

Halfback pairing TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett have been playing together since U20's rugby, and their seamless relationship is easy to recognise.

Perenara has scored 10 brilliant tries this season and Barrett has scored 105 points, both players showing their pure class and pushing for the starting All Blacks jersey. Barrett is now the Hurricanes' top point scorer, whilst being only 24-years-old. 

Evergreen All Black legends Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith are still recognised as the top centre partnership in the Super 15, regularly embarrassing other international duos and picking up a fair few points on the way to another national selection.

Notable performances against Sonny Bill Williams of the Chiefs and Malakai Fekitoa of the Highlanders prove that they know how to perform at the highest level, even against their national teammates.

A solid force in the scrum, seasoned internationals Ben Franks and Dane Coles have had another strong year.

Coles seems to have grown out of his reckless nature and settled into the starting Hooker position for the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. Franks has a plethora of experience to bring to the table, and his 6 foot 1, 120kg frame is sometimes impossible to move in the breakdown area. Don't be surprised if you see both Hurricanes players starting in New Zealand's important group match against Argentina in this year’s world cup. 

Much of the Hurricanes' success this year has revolved around their sheer ability to score tries and put points on the opposition. The play making sparks of Barrett and Milner-Skudder have created the chances, but every top team needs a good winger who can score tries.

Who better to fill this roll than Julian Savea and Cory Jane.

Savea has scored 30 tries in 33 appearances for the All Blacks, and has been in impressive form this season with the Hurricanes. 32-year-old Jane has been a loyal servant to the Hurricanes and the All Blacks, specialising in try scoring and opening up defences. Both wingers have been pivotal to the Hurricanes' storming season, and are guaranteed to start for the All Blacks come world cup time.

It seems the reason the Hurricanes are able to play such destructive rugby bores down to their international influence. When all of their big guns are blazing and performing well, no side can match their ability.

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Rugby Union
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