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'Unlucky' Canes staying positive

Sat, 01 Mar 2014 08:49
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Despite the heartbreaking nature of their loss to the Stormers at Newlands, the Hurricanes took heart from what was an encouraging performance.

Despite the heartbreaking nature of their loss to the Stormers at Newlands, the Hurricanes took heart from what was an encouraging performance.

A late driving maul saw Stormers flank Deon Fourie go over for his team's only try which secured an unconvincing 19-18 victory on Friday, leaving the Hurricanes with just a single bonus point from their South African tour.

The visitors scored two good tries late in the first half to take control of the game, and almost pulled off what would have been a valuable win, but were ultimately denied at the death by a desperate Stormers side.

Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith was visibly disappointed after the match, but said that his team's fighting display away from home bodes well for the rest of the season.

"I think we were pretty unlucky tonight, but we can't expect that to happen every night. It is a long old season and we will have plenty of opportunities to set that right.

"We created a couple of opportunities and we always want to create more. It was a game we could have easily won and if we just keep preparing the way we did and play the way we did we will win more than we lose," he said.

Coach Mark Hammett said that he was particularly impressed by the performance of his forward pack, who had been blown off the park by the Sharks the week before.

"I thought we certainly created plenty of chances, I thought our forwards played particularly well. We put a lot of work into our scrum and line-out and I thought our defensive line-outs were outstanding," he said.

The Hurricanes boss said that while they were gutted to go down the way they did, they are certainly not unhappy with what they achieved on their South African tour which he believes has set them up nicely for the rest of the season.

"The game is a bit cruel sometimes isn't it? You love the game but it doesn't always love you back.

"There are some positives, the guys are fresh and really enjoy travelling here. We set down some really good and challenging habits, so while we have only come away with a point we have actually come away with a lot more than that.

"It could so easily have been four points and then back home for two games, but it is what it is and we will take confidence out of this trip," he said.

One area that the Hurricanes can definitely improve on is protecting the ball in contact, which Hammett said they will address before their upcoming home games against the Brumbies and Cheetahs.

"We mixed our game up in terms of playing behind the space and playing the edges, but we didn't get it all right. If we look back at the game ultimately it will be turnovers that cost us.

"The turnovers were mainly knock-ons so we have got to look at how we are holding the ball and taking it into contact because we just lost too many.

"We will have a look at that and see if it was conditions, but we have to get better there," he said.

By Michael de Vries

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