Super Rugby 2.8.2016 03:54 pm

Hurricanes defence a big Lions poser

Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes. Picture: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes. Picture: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

While the Lions have been excellent on attack, it’s the Hurricanes excellent defence which could be the biggest key in Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Wellington.

While the Lions have scored 10 tries but also conceded seven in their two playoff matches, the Hurricanes didn’t concede a single try in their wins of 41-0 over the Sharks and 25-9 over the Chiefs in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann on Tuesday admitted it would be a big challenge while in conversation from New Zealand.

“We must give them credit, to play in so many minutes on Super Rugby level and don’t concede a try means you are doing something right,” he said.

“I think their line speed on defence has definitely put teams under pressure as one could see in the playoff matches against the Sharks and the Chiefs, so you have to work really hard to break their defences down and to get points,” he said.

Ackermann said however the Hurricanes are not only a defence-orientated side.

“We don’t see it as an attack-defence dual because they can also attack very well, they have got players who could go and score if you lose possession, our defence will have to be just as good,” he said.

“We are going to play our natural game and hopefully it’s good enough to score tries like we love to do and have been doing the whole year long and remains one of our targets. But it remains a final where you don’t have to worry about bonus points, you can take your three points if necessary.”

Ackermann said the Hurricanes could also turn defence into attack on their own terms.

“The one reason why they have been successful, and you have to look at the weather, is that sometimes they kick tactically well and then they pin you down on defence. Against those teams who are used to attack from deep it will be more difficult with their intensity on defence.

“But they are a good defensive unit and you must give them credit, but we also have got a few pointers in place and hopefully we can go and execute on the weekend.”

 

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