Hurricanes captain Dane Coles says if this weekend’s Super Rugby Aotearoa fixture against the Highlanders goes ahead, there’s still plenty to play for despite it being a dead rubber.
The Hurricanes are scheduled to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday night in the final round of the competition, even though the title was wrapped up last week by the Crusaders.
But it has come under question with the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the community in New Zealand which has left Auckland in a Level 3 lockdown currently and the rest of the country at Level 2.
It means if Saturday’s game goes ahead, they’d do so without fans. Coles said the Hurricanes aren’t worried about their safety if they have to travel for the games.
“We had a discussion this morning about if people did feel comfortable, and everyone's pretty much jumped on board,” Coles told 1 NEWS.
“If someone didn't feel comfortable, then 100 per cent we'd give them that respect and he can stay home for family.
“We're not saying you have to play, completely up to the individual. If they want to stay behind, that's up to them and we'd be completely behind them.”
But with the team on-board, they’re looking to give one of their own – long-time Hurricane Ben May – a proper send off in his last Super Rugby game in the yellow jersey.
“I think that's been the motivation,” Coles said.
“It's our job mate to play footy and we want to send off our old mate. So that's been massive motivation, regardless of what's happened in the comp just to give him one last run in the jersey.”
The game is also a special one for the other side with halfback Aaron Smith earning his 150th Super Rugby cap.
Coles said he’d look to rain on his All Blacks teammate’s parade.
“Their boys will be up for him,” Coles said.
“It's just being grateful we get to do it.
"Any time you put on a jersey, it's exciting. It'll probably be like an exhibition match. We won't just go through the motions. I'm pretty sure they'll be the same.
“We take pride regardless whatever's going to happen. We're looking forward to going down there and have a go.”