Hurricanes squad depth tested by injuries
Wellington - Injuries at the wrong end of the season have the Hurricanes calling on the depth in their squad to prepare for Saturday's Super Rugby clash in Canberra against the Brumbies.
That was the word from the Wellington-based franchise's assistant coach Jason Holland, who said building squad depth was part of the coaching job.
"We've got a squad of 38 when the season starts and we've got to make sure that everyone's ready to go and everyone gets their time, their training time, and make sure they understand what we're trying to do and understand their roles," he explained.
"That's what you plan for, to make sure the non-23 are getting schooled up and understand what we're trying to do so when they get their chance they can do it."
Holland said flyhalf Beauden Barrett and utility forward Vaea Fifita were going through concussion protocols and were making good progress, but no decision had been made on their availability yet.
Flanker Ardie Savea was likely to be out of action for two to three weeks with his high ankle sprain. Sam Henwood had shaken some injury worries he had before the break and had played 70 minutes of the warm-up game against the Chiefs at the weekend and was the likely replacement for Savea.
They would also be without centre Matt Proctor and utility back Vince Aso for the remainder of the season.
With the side coming back together after their time away during the month it was important to refocus as quickly as possible on the Hurricanes' campaign needs.
"It's important for us to make sure that the next six weeks is something to push towards winning the competition," said Holland.
They had been working on their reintegration on Monday and would ease into their week and get excited about their Brumbies game.
There was no indication of whether captain Brad Shields, who returned from his involvement in England's campaign in South Africa at midnight (NZ time) on Monday, would be available. Illness had forced him out of consideration for the third Test.
Debate over the outside centre position had focused on the options of whether to play Jordie Barrett there or possibly Wes Goosen or Jonah Lowe.
Holland said Barrett enjoyed the position and the physical side of it and had been solid when played at centre and had done everything asked of him.
"It's a hard one to figure out whether he's better in the midfield or better in the back," he added.
"He's been solid and I'm sure he'll get better and better."