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Hurricanes preparing for 'a long day' against Drua in Suva

By Ned Lester
Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The Hurricanes may be undefeated, but even coming off a strong win over the Chiefs they are not taking any chances when preparing for their upcoming contest against the Fijian Drua in Suva.

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They’ll be facing a team who are also yet to taste defeat on their home turf in 2024, with the Drua having established Lautoka as a bonafide fortress in 2023.

Former All Blacks prop Jamie Mackintosh knows a thing or two about physical contests, and the Hurricanes assistant coach wasn’t mincing his words when anticipating the kind of contest coming his team’s way.

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“Fundamentally get ready for a war or it’s going to be a long day,” Mackintosh told media on Monday. “The people are amazing, it’s a friendly place, but they love to beat you up.

“Crowd noise, slippery ball, the way the Fijian boys use momentum – it’s something incredible that they get over there. They get up on top of the grass and they start playing their game and they’re really, really difficult to stop.

“And I’ll tell you one thing – if you’re not physical and not winning collisions both with and without the ball on defence, it’s going to be a long day.

“They’re physical, they’ve made massive inroads with their set piece and now they have become a team that’s formidable so it’s going to be a massive job.”

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Team Form

Last 5 Games

2
Wins
4
1
Streak
1
11
Tries Scored
23
-75
Points Difference
54
2/5
First Try
3/5
2/5
First Points
2/5
1/5
Race To 10 Points
4/5

As for his team, well they’ve made some significant improvements of their own. The young core within the group are finding career-best form in 2024, promising a very exciting future in the capital city.

“The age of these guys is just hitting their prime,” he added.

“So far so good but we are going to come across and going to have to deal with adversity and I think we have set ourselves up pretty well to deal with that.”

One of those players hitting their prime is centre Billy Proctor. The 24-year-old says the team “know we have areas we need to tidy up. We can’t take a win for granted in this competition.”

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The Hurricanes have been using the facilities at their NZCIS base to prepare for the contest, including the altitude room, where the team can control the space’s oxygen levels.

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The facilities were a big part of the Hurricanes entering the season fit and firing, with preseason including some “uncomfortable” trainings which they hope will translate into better a performance in the Fijian heat.

“We definitely know the challenge that’s at hand. They feed off the heat and feed off the crowd. You lose energy quickly over there,” Proctor added.

The weekend’s 36-23 win over the Chiefs wasn’t without its hair-raising moments for Hurricanes fans, specifically in the third quarter of the contest when the Chiefs started to build a lead.

“We had to fight through a bit of adversity and we showed a bit of character coming back from a poor start to the second half.”

“We know that if we do that in Fiji, it’s going to be a very long, tough day for us.”

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