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Hurricanes keeping focused on Blues in June break

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Keeping the adrenalin flowing during Super Rugby’s June break hasn’t been a problem for the Hurricanes as the squad stay firmly focused on their crucial New Zealand derby match against the Blues at Westpac Stadium on July 2.

The Hurricanes squad headed to Adrenalin Forest in Porirua for a team building and leadership exercise that challenged the players’ ability to remain calm and focused under pressure during Super Rugby’s month-long break for rugby’s international window.

Head coach Chris Boyd said those were the traits the side would need during the final three rounds of Super Rugby against the Blues, Waratahs and Crusaders when Super Rugby resumes.

“You can’t keep that level of intensity up for any length of time when you aren’t focusing on a game because at the end of the day the players are looking for the intensity and excitement of the contest so we have to understand there are periods of intense concentration and periods of relief.

“We won two of three games going into the bye and had some reasonable momentum, so what we decided to do as a group is we had our first week off. Last week and this week we focused on strength and conditioning and a lot of core skills work. And now this week we have a Super Rugby warm up match coming up against the Melbourne Rebels.”

The Hurricanes squad, minus All Blacks Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Ardie Savea, and captain Dane Coles, as well as Samoan hooker Motu Matu’u, will head to Melbourne on Wednesday morning and play the Rebels at Harlequins Rugby Club on Thursday evening.

“Everybody who is fit to play will go,” Boyd said. “There is a two-fold objective. One is it keeps the players combinations ticking over as we look toward the Blues and secondly it gives us a chance to see some of the guys who haven’t had a lot of game time and assess them around some quality players and some quality opposition.”

With just three rounds to play in the regular season, the Hurricanes remain firmly in the hunt for the Super Rugby playoffs. They are third in the New Zealand Conference, five points behind leaders the Crusaders and just two points behind the Chiefs. On the overall table, the Hurricanes are currently in sixth place and hold one of the three wildcard playoff berths available in the Australasian Conference.

The Hurricanes Super Rugby run home (NZ kick off times):

v Blues, July 2, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 7:35pm

v Waratahs, July 9, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, 9:40pm

v Crusaders, July 16, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, 5:15pm

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