Hurricanes looking to outrun Lions
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Lions have scored 84 tries in 16 matches throughout their 2017 Super Rugby campaign, while the Hurricanes have managed 93 tries in the same amount of matches.
The amount of tries that both teams have scored throughout the 2017 season indicates that Saturday's semifinal between the Lions and the Hurricanes at Ellis Park in Johannesburg will showcase plenty of running, big hits and offloads.
With Hurricanes outside centre Vince Aso returning to the starting team for the semifinal showdown on Saturday, there is even more reason to believe that the match will turn into a high scoring spectacle of running rugby.
Aso was sidelined with a groin injury during the Hurricanes 16-35 Super Rugby quarterfinal victory over the Brumbies in Canberra last weekend.
However, Aso has fond memories playing against South African opposition, most recently scoring a hat-trick of tries in helping the Hurricanes to a 61-7 victory over the Cheetahs in a Round 13 Super Rugby match which was played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington at the end of May.
Speaking ahead of the Hurricanes semifinal at the team hotel in Johannesburg on Thursday, Aso told reporters that the Hurricanes will be looking to match the Lions' attacking power out wide and dictate the speed of the game.
"We play a pretty tempo game, we play side to side and it kind of helps us as a midfield as well being in the open and being able to see pictures. It kind of suits us.
"The Lions play similar, so hopefully we can outrun them on our own terms," said Aso.
Aso added that he is looking forward to continuing his midfield partnership with inside centre Ngani Laumape and explained that if the Hurricanes are able to get momentum up front and look after the ball they will have no problem in getting their dangerous backline involved in the game and exploiting spaces out wide.
"I've been working hard with Ngani and we continue to work hard and learn from each other.
"The Lions are kind of similar to us, they play width to width, running them off their feet will be hard, but if we just keep building phases then hang onto the ball, we will be sweet. It starts up front," explained Aso.
By Josh Isaacson