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'The fans have been denied': Hurricanes under fire for resting All Blacks

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes’ decision to rest key All Blacks Tyrel Lomax, Ardie Savea and Jordie Barrett for a crunch match with the Chiefs has not gone down well with a pair of ex-All Blacks.


The star players were rested for the New Zealand derby which the Hurricanes lost 23-12. The Chiefs were able to register a comfortable victory in the wet conditions against the understrength visitors.

Former All Black wing Jeff Wilson said the Hurricanes missed a trick as the conditions would have suited them had they been at full-strength.

Had they been able to secure a win they would have put themselves in contention to finish as the number one seed.

“Think about the game and they way it was played, the conditions were so poor,” Wilson told Sky Sport’s The Breakdown.

“To have Tyrel Lomax playing, all of a sudden your scrum and lineout clearly operates better.

“Then you bring in Ardie Savea, his ability in close in the contact parts of the game. Defensively, he’d have more effect there.


“And you needed a big kicking game [with Jordie Barrett]. So they’ve missed their opportunity.

“If you are a Hurricanes’ fan, you’ve been potentially denied the opportunity to host not just a quarter-final but a semi-final particularly after the Brumbies lose.

“If they went on to beat the Blues and Crusaders over the next two weeks they’ve could’ve finished first and the fans have been denied that by not playing their best side.”

Ex-All Black great John Kirwan posed the bigger picture question as to whether this should be occurring in Super Rugby Pacific.

He believed that the All Blacks coaches do not want the best players missing the biggest games, particularly the Kiwi derbies.


“It’s irrelevant because the question we need to answer is, should this happen or not,” Kirwan asked.

“I get why a coach would do it, probably overthinking stuff. I get that the players need breaks.

“But I’m pretty sure the All Blacks don’t want them to break during a derby, the best games of the year.

“That’s where you want to see your players under pressure.”


The Hurricanes decided to rest their big names for a crucial New Zealand derby but played them against Moana Pasifika.

Although they were upset last season by the new franchise, they beat Moana 59-0 earlier this season and then 71-22 in the rematch.

Wilson said that they could have managed the rest weeks differently to ensure that the top All Blacks were available to play the toughest matches on the schedule.

“They chose to play them against Moana Pasifika, they could have managed this differently so that they were available,” Wilson said.

“They could have had them available in the biggest games.

“I think they could have won this game, the conditions closed the gap between these two teams, and with those assets I talked about, they could’ve won by thinking differently about where they might sit in three weeks’ time.”





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Nickers 396 days ago

That loss to the Drua messed things up for the Canes big time. Unless they can beat the Blues and the Crusaders they are destined to finish 5th or 6th, which will mean Blues or Brumbies away in their QF. They are better off resting players knowing that they now have 3 very tough games on the trot.

Willie 397 days ago

Cannot believe NZR has not signed up a cottonwool manufacturer as a major sponsor.

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