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Hurricanes not buying into favourites hype

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/08/2016
Brad Shields © AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford Brad Shields

The Hurricanes enter Saturday's Super Rugby final against the Lions in Wellington as raging favourites.

With history on their side and home advantage Chris Boyd's team have the perfect opportunity to end their title drought at Westpac Stadium.

No South African team has ever won a final in New Zealand or Australia with the Sharks losing their finals to the Blues (1996), Brumbies(2001) and Chiefs (2012).

Since 1996, teams from the Republic have also played in 10 play-off games in New Zealand and lost all of them.

The bookmakers have the Hurricanes favourites over the Lions, who have had to make the trek from Johannesburg.

But loose forward Brad Shields, who was part of the Hurricanes team that lost last year's final to the Highlanders, is confident the side won't get caught up in the hype heading into Saturday's showdown.

"We try not to look into it too much because it can trip you up," Shields explained.

"The Lions are a tough team. We're preparing for a battle and that's what we're going to get."

Shields said the Hurricanes' focus was on sticking to the routines, processes and preparation that had got them into their second successive home final.

"If we get our things right and get our micro-detail and our game-plan right then there's no reason why we can't perform well."

The bruising flanker admitted last year's defeat to the Highlanders - which followed the 2006 final loss to the Crusaders - still rankled.

"I'm still not over it," he conceded.

"It's always sitting at the back of your mind and you can use it for motivation but you can't get too tied up in it because it might affect your performance.

"We've got another opportunity to do our club proud and hopefully get that first win."

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