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Scrum struggle no problem: Hurricanes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/05/2017

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The Hurricanes identified plenty of shortcomings in their 20-12 reality check loss to the Crusaders.

A back-pedalling scrum wasn't the worst of them, according to coach Chris Boyd.

The Super Rugby defending champions were out-muscled by the unbeaten competition leaders in Christchurch, the dewy evening conditions favouring the All Blacks-laden home pack.

A Hurricanes side who had averaged seven tries per game couldn't muster a single one against a Crusaders side whose dominance at scrum time translated into multiple penalties and territorial dominance.

Boyd says the Hurricanes have more than held their own at scrum time this year and reckons the interpretations of South African referee Jaco Peyper was a key factor.

"Jaco's very focused on the dominant side. The question is, 'how are they dominant?' " Boyd said.

"Our guys think we were probably hard done by in half of those penalties."

The Super Rugby defending champions were out-muscled by the unbeaten competition leaders in Christchurch, the dewy evening conditions favouring the All Blacks-laden home pack. © Phil Walter/Getty Images The Super Rugby defending champions were out-muscled by the unbeaten competition leaders in Christchurch, the dewy evening conditions favouring the All Blacks-laden home pack. Boyd says the Crusaders have held sway at scrum time when the teams have met in recent seasons and it was factored into their preparation.

The difference this time was the Hurricanes' inefficiency in other areas.

"There was the fact that we also didn't dominate the collision areas, we didn't dominate the territory and we also had 30 skill execution mistakes.

"The big question we're asking ourselves is whether we tried to play too much rugby on what was a pretty slippery occasion."

Boyd says his Monday team debrief following their second loss of the campaign was a sombre affair.

However, they were heartened at creating good chances early in the contest which they didn't convert because of uncharacteristic handling woes.

Boyd confirmed his team will be without All Blacks pair Nehe Milner-Skudder (foot) and Dane Coles (head and calf) for this Saturday's home match against the Cheetahs.

The pair are "progressing nicely" but Boyd can't say if they will be fit for subsequent matches away to the Bulls or Western Force, or at home to the Chiefs on June 9.

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