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Key players return to boost Canes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/05/2016

The Hurricanes are still waiting for the all-clear on lock Michael Fatialofa and captain Dane Coles, both still working their way through concussion protocols after the Reds match. © Getty Images The Hurricanes are still waiting for the all-clear on lock Michael Fatialofa and captain Dane Coles, both still working their way through concussion protocols after the Reds match. The Hurricanes are set to welcome back the five wayward players who missed a team curfew in Friday's key Super Rugby match against the Highlanders.

Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree said it was more than likely Cory Jane, Julian and Ardie Savea, Victor Vito and Chris Eves would return after missing the Hurricanes' 29-14 win over the Reds game two weeks ago.

The five broke a team curfew in Durban in the lead-up to a disappointing 32-15 defeat against the Sharks.

"You'd expect those guys to come back in - they've served their time, all's forgiven and we're good to go with those boys," Plumtree said at training on Monday.

The five would provide a much-needed boost as the Hurricanes come off the bye week and look to improve on a sub-par performance against the Reds.

"We didn't really look like losing that game, but unfortunately we didn't really play the rugby we wanted to," Plumtree said.

"We certainly won't get away with that this week if we play poorly in terms of turnover ball against the Highlanders."

The Hurricanes are still waiting for the all-clear on lock Michael Fatialofa and captain Dane Coles, both still working their way through concussion protocols after the Reds match.

Plumtree expects to know by Wednesday whether they'll be available, and is also awaiting a final decision on centre Matt Proctor's knee injury.

Defensive focus will be a big part of Friday's game as the Hurricanes look to reverse their 17-16 second-round loss to the Highlanders.

"If you're down five or six per cent in terms of your tackle success, then you can lose," Plumtree said.

"There are indicators in our game, we know if we don't get it right, then we'll struggle.

"We're a way from the grand final, but we're getting close and every point matters. If we want to win this New Zealand conference, we can't afford to lose the game this weekend."

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