Lavish praise for Canes loosies

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper lauded the efforts of his All Blacks loose-trio in turning potential defeat into a thumping victory against the Blues.

Cooper said his team had rarely lived up to its potential in the Vodacom Super 12, but in the expanded Super 14 it was time to deliver.

And deliver was exactly what his loose-forwards did.

“They will chase anything and everything,” said Cooper of Jerry Collins, Rodney So’oialo and Chris Masoe. “They are physical guys that attack that area and I thought the Blues at eight, nine and 10 hadn’t had a lot of time in the preseason. I think we adapted better when the rain came purely because we were more committed. The rain didn’t worry me.”

Blues coach David Nucifora conceded the Canes loosies were too tough on the night.

“They are a very good back row … that is obvious. If you let them play with the ball in front of them, they are handful for anyone, there’s no doubt about that.”

Nucifora also though the Canes played the more intelligent rugby in the second half.

“Their kicking game in the second half and their power in the midfield in the second half to hit it up close and get their backrowers into the game – that’s where they won it and we lost it. They played to the conditions far better than we did.”