2013 Season Preview: HURRICANES

by Brendan Bradford - The Hurricanes were New Zealand’s surprise packet in 2012. Largely written off after the departure of All Black legends Andrew Hore, Ma’a Nonu and Piri Weepu, an inexperienced Canes outfit endured a tumultuous off-season but were eager to prove the doubters wrong once the competition began. Led by hard-nosed coach Mark Hammett, the side set about their task with a youthful abandon and became the competition’s top try-scorers as they fell two points short of earning a play-off spot, eventually finishing the season in eighth place. There is continuity in the squad this season and the relatively few newcomers add an intriguing mix of experience and greenness that already exists in the playing ranks. The big off-season acquisitions are All Blacks prop and former Crusader Ben Franks and promising young loose forward Ardie Savea. In addition, Ardie’s elder
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