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Aisle be back: Hurricanes v Jaguares

Hurricanes | 08 March 2018 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle be back: Hurricanes v Jaguares

I'll make the stupid call so you don't have to. Canes to beat Crusaders this Saturday.

Stupid of course because the home side is coming off a less than stellar opening away tour, one win, one loss.

Stupid of course because they've largely played like a team still in pre-season, with frustrating glimpses of what is in store.

Stupid because they are up against the champions who have so far made it two from two, and at times impressively.

But then, there is no doubting this is a big match. And the Hurricanes need a big match. Ideally, it might be against someone else, but if anyone should stiffen the spine and resolve, it has to be a visit from our old southern chums.

So the formula never really changes. Tackle like hell, take your few chances, win the edge in the loose and hold your own if possible in the tight. And be smart and ruthless, heaven forbid, even journeyman-like.

The Crusaders certainly are ruthless and pragmatic on a good day, but they have some flaws too. They actually don't know how good they are yet. If you remember last year, they actually could have dropped a fair few games early on but had the grit to get out of various holes.

RLM

So the Hurricanes know they have some advantages. There's that lethal backline. There's the world's best number 10, starting in his 100th match. And they are at home, with a reasonably intact squad compared to the visitors.

But I know, you'll be worrying over the terrible hands and misfiring pack and yes, if they are still there on Saturday, we'll be easily beaten.

On the other hand, that same side put five tries on the track in Buenos Aires. If they can get five on Saturday, then it's game over. But I'll settle, as you well know, for five penalties if that's what it takes. And a win is the essential.

And finally, get yourself out the stadium. This is a great match at any time of the season, and the visitors always have a few supporters in the crowd. Don't let them be the loudest voice.

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Amazing how quickly Eddie's chariot is being rounded on. Seems like a world record-equalling streak, whether you think they're worth much or not, is not enough. Certainly, if you get a drubbing by Scotland, who All Blacks fans should remember were well in with a shout last year against us, then the pack will turn on you.

Now there's all sorts of dire warnings being put out, but considering that Eddie Jones is missing a fair few players with injury, it all seems a bit overwrought.

It's only a problem if they think 2018 is crucial to 2019. It is, but not in the sense of having to win everything and be dominant.

Better to get the yips now than a year later, when there's not much time to adjust. England will still be formidable foes, and unless they implode of their own doing, our biggest threat in Japan.

And even if you do enjoy seeing Fast Eddie squirm, there's nothing that justifies the public insults that he had to endure recently and which were captured on video. It's still a game for heaven's sake and the perpetrators have been rightly condemned.

However, you've probably all seen it yourself in a crowd in New Zealand. The fan "fuelled by alcohol", one of the great euphemisms for trying to divert responsibility from the drinker to the drink.

There was even the infamous treatment that John Hart endured. So there's a line that has to be recognised; let's all do our bit not to cross from friendly barracking to verbal assault

Kevin is a lifetime Hurricanes fan. He and his partner are on a two-year Volunteer Service Abroad posting to Vanuatu's Espiritu Santo island. He's working on a project to build a South Pacific World War 2 museum on the site of an enormous Allied base on the island. Check it out atwww.southpacificwwiimuseum.com

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