Wellington - The Hurricanes-Highlanders Super 15 final on Saturday "is going to be brutal" and could damage New Zealand's World Cup strength, according to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
But he admits he wouldn't have it any other way with southern hemisphere club rugby supremacy at stake.
The Hurricanes, with 12 current All Blacks in their squad, compared to five with the Highlanders, have been installed as favourites by the pragmatists for the sold-out game in Wellington.
Rugby romantics, however, are backing the Highlanders who field a band of rugby nobodies with a never-say-die attitude.Andy H's beloved home town Hurricanes have made the Super 15 finals, so he has booked a table in the Charles Holden for eight o'clock on Saturday morning to watch it over breakfast and a pint. That "is going to brutal" for me and John before the afternoon's crawfish boil. No need to plan anything very elaborate for the evening I feel.
It is interesting to note that the 'Canes have been on a roll ever since Mark Hammett left them for the Cardiff Blues where he also flopped.