Super Rugby Round 16
Hurricanes coach wants 'thinking rugby'
May 29, 2013
The Hurricanes' Conrad Smith beats the tackle of the Kings' Sergeal Petersen to score a try, Hurricanes v Southern Kings, Super Rugby, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, March 30, 2013
Conrad Smith's return after concussion is welcome news for coach mark Hammett © Getty Images

Coach Mark Hammett wants intelligent rugby from the Hurricanes as they look to overturn Australian conference leaders the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.

Going into their last game before the June Test window, the Hurricanes sit ninth on the Super Rugby ladder with six wins from 12 starts.

The Brumbies, with eight wins and two draws from 13 starts, present a real challenge with a well-structured game based around a strong kicking armoury.

A hard-working defensive unit, with a territory-based game, the Brumbies came off back-to-back losses with a gritty 20-13 win over the Blues in Auckland last week.

Hammett says the Hurricanes know what they need to do to down the Brumbies, and will be focused on "thinking rugby" and discipline.

"It comes down to the simple basics of football - you need to get go forward, you need to get behind the advantage line."

The variety in the Brumbies' kicking game also creates challenges, Hammett added. "They've got three or four that are outstanding kickers. Really, it's around making our decisions early on the counterattack. I've got no concerns with our ability to take that ball and deal with it right, but we need to make those decisions early."

The Hurricanes have been boosted by the return of captain Conrad Smith and hooker Dane Coles from injury. Smith is back after being knocked out making a tackle during the Hurricanes' 48-14 loss to the Bulls three weeks ago, while Coles returns from seven weeks out with a fractured eye socket.

Joining Smith and Coles in the starting line-up are James Broadhurst and Brad Shields, while Reynold Lee-Lo moves in one spot to inside-centre to make way for Smith at outside-centre.

Hammett says Lee-Lo, who's been deputising for Smith at centre in recent weeks, has earned his spot this week, along with lock Broadhurst.

"Rey's physical, he's a good stepper and he's certainly improved as a player out of sight," Hammett said. "The last few weeks, he's fronted really well for us. Broady's another to have taken his chance and stepped up."

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor; Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith, Reynold Lee-Lo, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Brad Shields; James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush; Ben May, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Replacements: Ash Dixon, Reggie Goodes, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie, Tusi Pisi, James Marshall.


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