2015 Super Rugby Grand Final: Hurricanes vs Highlanders

Discussion in 'Super Rugby' started by Jaguares, Jun 27, 2015.

?

Who will win?

Poll closed Jul 4, 2015.
  1. Hurricanes

    54.2%
  2. Highlanders

    45.8%
  1. Jaguares

    Jaguares First XV

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    1 Reggie Goodes
    2 Dane Coles
    3 Ben Franks
    4 Jeremy Thrush
    5 James Broadhurst
    6 Brad Shields
    7 Ardie Savea/Callum Gibbins
    8 Victor Vito
    9 TJ Perenara
    10 Beauden Barrett
    11 Julian Savea
    12Ma'a Nonu
    13 Conrad Smith (c)
    14 Nehe Milner-Skudder
    15 James Marshall

    Replacements:

    16.Motu Matu'u , 17.Chris Eves , 18.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen , 19.Callum Gibbins/Mark Abbott , 20.Blade Thomson , 21.Chris Smylie , 22.Rey Lee-Lo, 23.Matt Proctor
    [​IMG]
    1 Brendon Edmonds
    2 Liam Coltman
    3 Josh Hohneck
    4 Alex Ainley
    5 Mark Reddish
    6 Elliot Dixon
    7 James Lentjes
    8 Nasi Manu (cc)
    9 Aaron Smith
    10 Lima Sopoaga
    11 Patrick Osborne
    12 Richard Buckman
    13 Malakai Fekitoa
    14 Waisake Naholo
    15 Ben Smith (cc)

    Replacements:

    16. Ash Dixon , 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Joe Wheeler , 20. Gareth Evans , 21. Shane Christie , 22. Fumiaki Tanaka,
    23. Marty Banks
    [​IMG]

    Hurricanes overall record against the Highlanders:
    Played 25 , Wins 14 , Losses 11, Draws 0
    Match No.125: Hurricanes v Highlanders
    Date: Saturday 4 July 2015
    Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington (NZ)
    Capacity: 34,500
    Kick Off local: 19:35 NZST, 07:35 GMT, 09:35 SAST, 17:35 AEST
    Referee: Jaco Peyper
    Assistant Ref 1: Glen Jackson
    Assistant Ref 2: Craig Joubert
    TMO: Ben Skeen

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
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  3. Kiwi_

    Kiwi_ BANNED!!!

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    We have a strong chance of winning this, if we stick to tactics we played vs the Waratahs. Play a good kicking game and challenge their line out, which has not been convincing the past few weeks, I for one am not convinced of Marshall at full back, I think he's been a real weak link for them. The rushing defense worked well against the Waratahs, but the Hurricanes backs are far superior and their passing will be light years better than that of a finished Adam Ashley Coopers. Dealing with their outside backs might prove impossible if we allow them too much quality ball in our half, Fekitoas and Buckmans defense has been on point though, if we can get between their attacking line I think we have a good chance of disrupting things.

    Any word on NMS and Ardie?

    We have Dan Pryor returning which is a huge positive and the return of Christie and Wheeler is massive. Anyone would be a fool to write us off in this game. The passion the Highlanders have shown towards the end of the season is incredible. I'm really happy the clearly two best sides meet in a deserved final and a loss to the Hurricanes would not nearly be as hard to swallow as any other franchise given the quality rugby they've played this season and legends they have among their balanced team.
     
  4. Regan

    Regan Academy Player

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    Yep 2 best teams in the final. One you wouldn't predict a decade ago.

    I really hope the Canes don't adopt too much of a kicking game. We need to for the most part stick to what has worked all season. If it becomes a kicking game you'd have to think the Landers will have the upper hand. That being said they have to get it so right or our backline will make the Landers pay.

    In terms of NMS/ Savea I think they're going to be alright. NMS went off with a lil bit of a tight hamstring which is an injury from a few weeks ago so probably not wanting to risk it much. Same for Savea, just precautions.

    In terms of Marshall I can't see him starting unless NMS and Jane are out. If Jane isn't fit still I'd suspect that we'd have Proctor on the wing and NMS at fullback. Only way I see Marshall starting at FB is if NMS and Jane can't play. So we're probably safe. Marshall has been a better 10 tbh.
     
  5. TRF Mr Fish

    TRF Mr Fish Your Piscine Overlord

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    If either NMS or Jane are out then I'd be very very suprised if Marshall wasn't starting at fullback.
     
  6. austingtir

    austingtir First XV

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    The Highlanders will clearly have a better kicking game from 9 and arguably 10 (sopoaga has more variations in his kicking game than Barrett but they probably are both hit and miss in accuracy).

    The Highlanders need to persist with a similar kicking game to the waratahs game and I really think it will work with a solid defence backing it up when required. I would like to see most kicks go directly out though if NMS, Jane and Savea are on the field. I really dont think the Canes will cope with an accurate field position kicking game and a defensive line that locks them down in their half (easier said than done). But thats clearly the way to beat these guys. The conditions will make a big difference to this as well, it was dewy in Syndey so if its anything like that it will give the Highlanders a massive advantage for this type of game plan.

    If Janes not playing (I think he will be) they should spam bombs aswell. But even if he is it should work better than it did against the Tahs most likely.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
  7. Kiwi_

    Kiwi_ BANNED!!!

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    Might I add the Wellington crowd seems some what feeble and not an extra player. It feels like upper class and middle class parents who barely keep an eye on the Rugby, but might know the odd house hold name have sauntered along to "support" the team when they're finally winning and because it's currently the fashionable thing to do in the "trendy" Wellington.. Typical NZ fairweather supporters.

    Fortunately for us they won't play a part in the final.
     
  8. William18

    William18 First XV

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    I don't really see how the nature of our crowds are different to any other team? The Highlanders sold out one game all season and that was their home playoff. They have some very poor crowds over the years of poor performances.
     
  9. TRF_nickdnz

    TRF_nickdnz Super Moderator

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    I was at the game and the crowd support was pretty good to be honest.

    The stadium is a miserable one to watch rugby at - I had great seats and my eye sight still meant I had trouble working out who was there - it's interesting just how 'loyal' Highlanders fans have become after moving to Forsyth Barr.

    In terms of the support, it was actually exactly how I like it. I was sitting next to some dudes who weren't loud or boisterous (which to be honest I hate), but a few old guys who knew the game well. I'd much rather have a quiet but engaged crowd the the idiots who chant and do Mexican waves all the fricking time.
     
  10. Kiwi_

    Kiwi_ BANNED!!!

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    Could be the ground. It felt disconnected on the TV, compared to the Highlanders vs Tahs game, also the crowd prior to that was huge vs the Chiefs, could be due to the distances from the playing field to the stands.

    You also just reinforced my point about it being a timid/polite crowd.

    Highlander crowds are always solid and vocal. You have to remember we only have 4th the population of Wellington and easily the smallest population of all the franchise, by a considerable amount.
     
  11. Regan

    Regan Academy Player

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    Meh Wellington has always had a **** fanbase - there's a few of us loyal folk though, I'll be at the game on Saturday. I'd say a lot of the issue is because of the stadium. Regardless, I think you're probably going to have a good crowd (a better one than the semi) should also be a few Landers supporters too.

    The Landers are going to have to absolutely play out of their skins and control us if they have any chances. They are definite underdogs for good reason. If they'd tipped us once or twice in pool play there'd be a different story.
     
  12. Kiwi_

    Kiwi_ BANNED!!!

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    Yeah, I'm disappointed we didn't get the chance to have a shot at you in Wellington. We had to rest the All Blacks and that completely dropped the mentality of the side and took away the self belief, we saw this in the Brumbies game earlier as well. The team WAS fueled a lot on motivation and belief and reliant on Sopoaga, Fekitoa, Smith & Smith.

    I feel the earlier game in the season we weren't quite firing on all cylinders and were only just starting to click as a genuine great team. Dealing with your go forward ball and meters created by guys like Broadhurst and Savea, then having to defend your outrageously good backline is going to take a mammoth performance. But I think we have some good match ups to deal with you in defense.

    We are sound in defense, we have often let in soft tries when we have brought in changes during the game when we have basically had it won, like Banks, who can't tackle and it's let our defensive record slip, but it's also given us some what of a smoke screen and underrated defense. Guys like Fekitoa (who should take SBW's spot) are huge defenders. Sopoagas kicking game is better than anyone in the Canes at the moment, and we have shown we can defend the high ball as Falou was shut down reasonably well.. So I think it will be much the same this time around. I'm hoping Marshall starts at FB.
     
  13. Regan

    Regan Academy Player

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    I honestly don't know why the Highlanders chose to rest all their ABs at once in both games, the same thing happened (they got smashed).....and why you chose to rest them all against us instead of the Blues (your last regular season game). You would have been better to rest them sporadically but in hindsight you still got that 4th spot and with the conferencing system that was the best you would have been able to achieve anyway (behind the Canes).

    I agree we'll have some amazing matchups, just to name a few: Perenara vs Smith, Barrett vs Sopoaga, Savea vs Naholo, Nonu/ Conrad vs Fekitoa etc.

    The Highlanders kicking game is better yes because the Canes simply don't play a kicking game. I really hope we don't choose to adopt one either (to play finals rugby) I do think we'll probably kick more than usual but hopefully not too much more, I want us to play for the most part like we have all season, if not we're screwed imo. Basically our lineout has to be accurate too - it was fine against the Brumbies which is a positive but it hasn't been the best of late. It single handily lost us the game against the Saders. If our lineout is solid and we play our game, we'll win. Highlanders could become a bit stuck with a kicking game if there's a swirling wind. Sopoaga sure knows Westpac Stadium and he sure knows how to put in a **** performance there too, he's had plenty of those over the years. So they're going to have to be careful but if they get it right, they'll have the slight upper hand but everyone knows the Canes can make you pay from anywhere. It should be a good one and provided both teams turn up, a relatively close fought battle. The Highlanders basically just have to stop us from scoring too many points because we definitely are the team that's looking more likely to score points.
     
  14. tonymayor

    tonymayor Academy Player

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    Surely mate you can see that the box kick used by arron smith is a waste of possession and he is doing it way to often it's only meant to be done when its on ,not as every 2nd time he gets the ball read it like a book I really hope Steve Hansen has picked up on it or the the highlanders and the abs dear I say it are going to get found out the game is about ball retention ,not kicking it away its a joke hurricanes all the way u would want a better game plan than that if you think that's what won that game against waratahs you are dreaming good luck with that

    - - - Updated - - -

    Too many pointless box kicks by smith
     
  15. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    Yeah, highlanders will never go very far with players like smith doing stupid stuff like that..oh wait!

    Not sure if I'd enjoy taking a high ball with naholo/Osbourne bearing down on me
     
  16. Larksea

    Larksea First XV

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    yeah smiths box kick has been a big part of the highlanders gameplan and its got them to the final so...

    what the kicks do is create a situation where you complete for possession 25-40m up field and also make the opposition forward pack turn around

    it works better against some teams than others. For example it didn't work against the chiefs because the chiefs back three returned the kicks with interest but they were good/lucky enough to prevent the chiefs from scoring tries from those kick returns.

    They wont be some spare of the moment thing smith just does. it will be a big part of the game plan and they will have an entire structure behind how they execute it so every player knows where they need to be, or else they will get really stung.

    But that is how you beat the highlanders. Return their kicks with interest, Savea, Nehe & co will be the main men with that task.
     
  17. Kiwi_

    Kiwi_ BANNED!!!

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    I agree some are pointless. But the way you're talking is they're useless. Which they definitely are not, especially vs good teams with good forwards who can challenge for the ball in the breakdown, like the Waratahs.

    The box kick gives us a chance to challenge for the ball, which our players are confident under.
    There's a chance they knock it on.
    If they catch it, our chasers are big tacklers and can line them up and put a big tackle in and put pressure on them at the breakdown.
    It turns their forwards and defensive line.

    ^
    We have constantly seen this from the Highlanders the past seasons and Smith uses it well. It won't be used as much in the AB's, but it will definitely be put to use for the same reasons I said.

    It's a good tactic, but sometimes I feel we could use our backline a little more, but that will be the case with the AB's, so don't worry.
     
  18. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    yeah, i hope we don't kicking to the canes back three quite so much, but more of the kicking for territory would be good. that backline can score from anywhere on the park...lets make them work for it by having to run 80m plus every time

    the box kick thing is interesting, a real gamble. if done right, osbourne would completely demolish someone the size of skudder which would be the first step towards getting in his head....if you miss and he gets past ya...he's gone and no ones catching him....is it worth the gamble?...dont know

    also....is the match actually to decide NZ's worst franchise? the loser will be the only one not to win a title....its the pessimist in me talking
     
  19. Kiwi_

    Kiwi_ BANNED!!!

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    I was actually worried about Falou and the box kicks, but we've obviously done our homework on how to defend him, we had 3-4 tacklers on him by the time he caught it and he never got far.

    IF NMS starts on the wing, that is good news for us with box kicks, I'm not scared of Marshall and it gives us a real chance to put pressure on him.

    I'm worried if they play NMS at FB, he's going to give us trouble like McKenzie did, but even more.. People give Renne a hard time for putting him at FB and not 10, but he knew that we would box kick and McKenzie was a great counter attacking option from them..

    I think we will see more Sopoaga banging it into space. But sometimes it's just not on and the Canes will sit two players back when we have possession.
     
  20. Regan

    Regan Academy Player

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    Hmm doesn't sound like Marshall will be starting. Provided NMS is fit to play, it sounds like Jane is going to be fit so we'll be incredibly solid under the high ball.
     
  21. InsaneAsylum

    InsaneAsylum First XV

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    I'm going out on a limb and saying that the Highlanders will take it, they seem to be building/peaking at the right time, whereas the Hurricanes have been good all year, the Highlanders may just creep up on them.
     
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