'We think he can get his game to the next level': Glowing endorsement for Hurricanes midfield
The Hurricanes run with Jordie Barrett at 12 was temporally over as head coach Jason Holland inserted Peter Umaga-Jensen alongside rising star Bailyn Sullivan for the side’s match against the Queensland Reds.
The Hurricanes overcame a 17-deficit to build a 30-17 win over Brad Thorn’s side, in part due to the defence of their new midfield combination who were tasked with marking Wallaby hitman Hunter Paisami at outside centre.
Sullivan rebounded after an early yellow card for a tip tackle on Paisami to add two tries on the night, his first a long range intercept after an errant Reds’ pass was batted backward by Julian Savea.
His second came in the 70th minute to seal the result when he won the race to a smart grubber kick by reserve first five Jackson Garden-Bachop.
The Hurricanes head coach had high praise for the performance of his three midfielders, with Billy Proctor coming into the game from the bench.
“Peter’s [Umaga-Jensen] obviously been desperate to get a start and done some really good things off the bench for us. I thought he was really solid tonight, he played really well,” he said.
“We’ve talked a lot about how we think he can get his game to the next level and I saw some real signs around that, especially around his D tonight.
“Bailyn’s a massive threat in attack and D’d up really well so they were really good. And I actually thought Billy came on and was really solid for us when he came on and pushed
Bailyn to the wing.
“So really good signs and really competitive obviously with those three boys that can play there. Really happy with the way all the midfielders went.”
The Hurricanes new midfield combined with young first five Aidan Morgan who earned his third start after two showings against Moana Pasifika.
Holland was happy with how his young 10 is developing and the depth of the position within the squad with Ruben Love and the experience of Garden-Bachop.
“I think Aidan is developing really well. He’s a confident young man, he’s a really good 10,” he said.
“They’re quite different, the 10s we’ve got, they’re quite different in the way they play, different strengths. Whoever’s got the attributes that we want and think can win the
game against certain opposition we’ll play.
“Jackson [Garden-Bachop] came on and put the game away quite nicely too. All capable and we’re confident we can throw all of them in. Plus Ruben [Love] is
obviously injured at the moment so it’s a good dilemma to have.”
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