Hurricanes front row keeping it real
April 25, 2014
All Blacks prop Ben Franks makes his return from injury this weekend for the Hurricanes © Getty Images
Front-rowers and flashy talk aren't common rugby bedfellows.
The All Blacks pair say getting carried away with three straight wins could undo all the hard work that has seen them climb from near the foot of the Super Rugby table to seventh at the midway point of the season.
A 4-4 win-loss record leaves their season at a crossroads while the 12th-placed Reds (3-5) are reaching desperation stakes, having lost their last two games.
Hooker Coles says one reason the Hurricanes haven't reached the playoffs since 2009 is their inability to maintain consistent high standards. They played to their potential in last week's 39-20 home win over the Blues, he said.
"But in previous years we might have had one good, physical game and then the next week dropped - we weren't consistent enough," Coles said. "This year we want to be real consistent, week in, week out. There's plenty of belief but we've got to keep our feet firmly on the ground because we've only won four games."
The physicality of the Hurricanes pack has allowed a star-studded backline to express themselves. Their 26 tries this season is three more than any other team, defying a disjointed start to the campaign that saw them lose their first three games.
Fellow-All Black Franks reminded his team of how low they felt through those opening weeks.
"When you are winning, everyone is getting the pats on the back and as you can see it feels good turning up to training," Franks said. "But we have to work as hard as when we weren't quite winning. It's easy if you are mentally weak to switch off and think, things are great now', and it takes a kick up the arse for things to go back to normal."
The prop returns from a groin injury to replace Reggie Goodes in the only starting Hurricanes change.
Lock James Horwill will earn his 100th cap for the visitors while there are changes in the front row, where prop Ben Daley and hooker Saia Fainga'a will start. In the backs, second five-eighth Mike Harris and wing Jamie-Jerry Taulagi come into the starting XV.
The Reds will want to end a terrible record against the Hurricanes, having lost their last seven away games since 2000.
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