Unstoppable force meets immovable object as Hurricanes welcome Brumbies




The Hurricanes' meeting with the Brumbies shapes as the Super Rugby equivalent of a freight train speeding at a parked bus.

Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea avoids a tackle during the Super Rugby match between Hurricanes v Highlanders, Westpac Stadium, Saturday 18th March 2017. Copyright Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / www.photosport.nz

Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea.

Source: Photosport

The competition's best attacking side are set to host the most miserly defence in tonight's clash in Napier.

The Hurricanes are averaging almost seven tries a game, while the Brumbies have conceded just 120 points in seven games.

The Wellington-based defending champions are Super Rugby's best side for metres gained, clean breaks and defenders beaten - statistical areas where the Brumbies are amongst the worst in the competition.

But the Brumbies' brick wall has stood up this season, with the highest tackle percentage in the league.

Winger James Dargaville returns to the side after spending two matches on the sidelines as part of Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham's rotation policy.

"You don't want to go into your shell at any stage particularly against the Kiwi teams, they're going to score points," Dargaville said.

"Even though our defence has been great, their turnover and those sort of things are very good."

Hurricanes' Ngani Laumape (C scores a try as he is tackled by Waratahs' Nick Phipps (L) and Bernard Foley (R during the Hurricanes vs Waratahs Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday the 7th of April 2017. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz

Hurricanes' Ngani Laumape scores a try against the Waratahs.

Source: Photosport

The Brumbies have contributed to Australian sides' shocking 0-12 record against New Zealand opposition in 2017, with the Crusaders and the Highlanders inflicting narrow defeats.

They have collected bonus points in all four of their defeats but Dargaville believes a renewed focus on attack is the edge the Brumbies need in close contests.

"Moving forward I think we need to be able to score points regularly as well to win those tight games," he said.

Hurricanes five-eighth Beauden Barrett is free to wreak havoc with the Brumbies defence despite collecting three yellow cards in two weeks - he fronted the judiciary and escaped without sanction, restarting his card count.

Dargaville is set to come up against veteran All Black Cory Jane but the 24 -year-old isn't overawed by his opponent.

"It's just like any other week. You've got to be on your a-game or else they'll show you up," Dargaville said.

Dargaville is one of two changes to the Brumbies' starting line-up with experienced hooker Josh Mann-Rea returning to the fold after a quicker-than- expected recovery from a knee injury.

Brad Shields will captain the Hurricanes with Dane Coles still out injured, while halfback TJ Perenara is set to start from the bench giving Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi a chance to start.

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