TODAY |

Hurdles for the Hurricanes part and parcel of a Super Rugby title

Back in February, the 2015 runners up were thrashed 52-10 in Canberra and the loss in last year's final it seemed had broken them.

'Fat and slow' were descriptions used and a week later, the 0-2 Hurricanes were out of the running.

Long accustomed to getting the boot laid into them, the Canes bounced back as they've forever done too and went on a five match winning streak, helped with softer opposition like the Force, Kings and Rebels.

Knocked off their stride by the Chiefs in April by one point, the Canes were still in touch however and for those with patient demeanours, there was nothing to worry about in Wellington.

If nothing else, the result was a reality check and reminder of the local strength in New Zealand and they coolly proceeded to dismantle the Lions by 50-17 in Johannesburg.

Johan Ackermann played his strongest team that day.

Inconceivably, the highs of the Lions crashed to the Sharks with five players internally suspended after missing a team appointment.

"The bye, it seems was well timed"

Being so close to breaking through in Super Rugby, Canes fans have always walked a tightrope and such curveballs to their success are keenly felt.

The promise of 2016 had disappeared as quickly as it had briefly in February.

So did the furore of the players' indiscretions with a comfortable win at home against the Reds with naughty boys Cory Jane and Julian Savea still sitting it out.

The bye, it seems was well timed and the consequent win over the Highlanders to avenge the final was the perfect platform heading into the International window.

Importantly, Chris Boyd's team had developed a way to snap back from disappointments and reset themselves to the bigger picture. Had they matured? As a franchise?

Class helped too and Beauden Barrett's All Blacks form was the spur for the July run to the playoffs and collectively the whole unit looked surefooted and steeled, building to a crescendo last Saturday in Christchurch.

There and thereabouts for the second half of the round robin, the Hurricanes have looked every part capable of the grand prize since the Test window.

Like any title triumph played out over several months, trials and tribulations are part and parcel and the necessary hiccups may have come at just the right time.