Hurricanes preview 2013
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 12/02/13 10:02am
The fans of the Wellington franchise were left to rue their early season stumbles as the free-scoring outfit just missed out on the play-offs by two points.
The Hurricanes were actually the top try-scorers in the competition, averaging at least three a match, while Andre Taylor (10), Julian Savea (9), TJ Perenara (7) and Conrad Smith (7) all crossed at regular intervals.
This and a run of six wins from their final seven matches - including the notable scalps of the Crusaders and the Chiefs - wasn't quite enough to tip the scales in their favour, though, as the loses to the likes of the Brumbies and the Cheetahs came back to haunt them.
But there is no reason why the Hurricanes can't carry that form in to this season, particularly as their squad looks stronger than last year, while Beauden Barrett has developed into an outstanding prospect at No 10.
Ben Franks will add some bite to the front row, while Tonga international Samisoni Fisilau while put the pressure on Perenara for the No 9 jersey.
Coach Mark Hammett has also added some youthful exuberance to the squad, with Ardie Savea - the 19-year-old younger brother of Julian - one to watch out for after some eye-catching back-row displays for Wellington in the ITM Cup. The loss of Cory Jane with a serious knee injury is a blow, though.