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Hurricanes wary of Folau magic

Saturday, May 03, 2014

WELLINGTON - The Hurricanes will not allow for damage to be inflicted on them by Waratahs danger man Israel Folau.

Keeping the effects to a minimum and eclipsing it with their own battery of exciting runners has been identified as vital to winning today's Super Rugby game in Sydney.

Wallabies fullback Folau is the most potent attacking weapon in the competition this season, posting nine tries in six games and making mince meat of defences who gift him space.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett says it is not realistic to snuff out the impact of a player who also leads the competition for offloads (22) and clean breaks (15).

Instead they will budget for it and back their own impressive lineup to trump the sixth-placed hosts.

"He'll have times when he gets on top of us," Hammett said of Folau.

"It's important that we can live with that and deal with that and hopefully our attacking game comes out on top."

The Hurricanes are the only team to run more metres per game (518m) than the Waratahs (499m).

Centre Alapati Leiua and winger Julian Savea lead the competition for defenders beaten and sit just behind Folau for line breaks. Another incisive runner, five-eighth Beauden Barrett, has scored a competition-high 127 points.

Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith says fullback Andre Taylor and All Blacks wingers Savea and Cory Jane are excited about matching their form with Folau's.

Jane scored a hat-trick in last weekend's win over Queensland — their fourth in succession — Savea has been a giant handful in recent weeks while Taylor's counter-attacking game is back near the dizzying level of two seasons ago.

Likewise Smith and Leiua, who has thrived since being shifted from the wing, can't wait to lock horns with a midfield comprising Wallabies Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Smith rates long-time rival Ashley-Cooper as world class and at the top of his game this year.

"He's had to deal with a lot of position changes through his career, he's had to play all over the show."

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