Aisle be Back: Hurricanes v Blues

13/06/2019
  • By Kevin McCarthy 

Never say Never but it’s hard to believe that Beaudie for the Blues is anything other than the sort of stuff that comes out when a player is off contract and trying to get the best deal.

A move surely wouldn’t be about greater opportunity or moving out of another’s shadow to further your career.

It probably wouldn’t make much difference financially, especially when you’re already heading off to a Japan sabbatical next year anyway.

And it assuredly wouldn’t burnish your career with greater success. I have got to presume top players like winning more than losing.

Yet the Blues are still tarred with being stone cold losers and there is yet to be any sign that Leon Macdonald is about to turn that around quickly, nor would you expect it to.

So maybe it would be a saviour complex appeal? As in, could one man in one position turn around the franchise.

Or boredom? Bored of the Canes ? Come on!

Nothing in the above is compelling – if anything the case is much less compelling that it was last time it surfaced. So, if it’s a genuine thing, what are we all missing here?

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Peter Umaga-Jensen starts at centre for the Hurricanes this week. Team below.

One match to go before finals footie, and it’s understandable for the focus to be on what lies beyond.

That would be the worst thing to do for the Hurricanes as they host the Blues this weekend.

Slightly ridiculously the Blues are talking it up as a statement game for them, to end the season at least with something. Actually, not slightly ridiculously. You need to make your statements earlier and more often, otherwise you end up with another failed Blues season.

So, beating the Hurricanes would in reality mean little for their finished season, and be irrelevant for 2020 even more so.

On the other hand, a Hurricanes loss would do their mojo no good at all.

Having completed two excellent victories in the Republic, something which is still elusive, the team you’d imagine will not want to turn in an insipid last effort. By all means rest some key players if that isn’t too disruptive, but the aim should be to clinically defeat the Blues.

Now just to note, the Blues should be well beaten but it won’t be simple. Given the right sort of game, the sort they will get against us, and of course they’ve got the firepower to challenge.

When that’s done then we’ll know who we face in the quarters, and then it will be time to think about that.

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I’m thinking about sticking a Laumape chart on my wall, charting how often I smack my head against a hard surface when I hear that SBW is a lock-in for the World Cup and Laumape is an outside chance.

I fear if that proves so, it will be one of those John Mitchell moments that Steve Hansen has largely avoided.  Then again, SBW surely is a high chance to get scratched between now and then – and the crowded midfield could break open in any number of ways.

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Meanwhile in Argentina, the New Zealand U20s lost to South Africa 17-25 this morning to finish second in their pool and miss out on the semi-finals by a bonus point. A late South African penalty put paid to their top four chances. New Zealand now plays Wales for fifth place in their next game.

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Dane Coles returns to start at hooker and to captain the Hurricanes.

Speaking of Beauden Barrett, he will be missing from the Hurricanes’ line-up to face the Blues as he is out with a virus.

Jackson Garden-Bachop goes from William Jones Park last Saturday to Westpac Stadium this week. He will partner Richard Judd in the halves. TJ Perenara is on the bench and so is Ardie Savea. Dane Coles returns to start at hooker.

The Hurricanes squad to face the Blues is:

15 James Marshall
14 Ben Lam
13 Peter Umaga-Jensen
12 Danny Toala
11 Salesi Rayasi
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop
9 Richard Judd
8 Gareth Evans
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi
6 Reed Prinsep
5 Isaia Walker-Leawere
4 Kane Le’aupepe
3 Ross Geldenhuys
2 Dane Coles (c)
1 Fraser Armstrong

Reserves

16 Asafo Aumua
17 Chris Eves
18 Alex Fidow
19 Liam Mitchell
20 Ardie Savea
21 TJ Perenara
22 Fletcher Smith
23 Jonah Lowe

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