Hurricanes 2022 Season

Where do we start with the Hurricanes in 2022? A topsy turvy season ultimately ended with a rather large thud on a cold brisk night in Canberra over the weekend and it was a game that summed up their season perfectly.

The story of the year for the Canes has been their inconsistency in performance. They’ve shown flashes of brilliance, but they’ve also shown major frailties in their game that continue to cost them when it matters most.

There are three areas the Hurricanes must improve on if they are going to threaten for the title in 2023.

  1. Set piece and maul defence: once again the Hurricanes really struggled to gain any sort of parity upfront and at line-out time against the stronger sides in 2022, especially when the game was on the line. They weren’t the worst team in the league by any stretch but when it came down to big moments in big games, they failed to deliver. Narrow losses to the Crusaders, Chiefs and most recently the Brumbies on Saturday highlighted a real need to improve in this area for 2023.

  2. Inconsistency in selection: to the bemusement of most fans on social media and plenty of Canes fans on here, I don’t think Holland selected the same XV for more than one game this year, instead choosing to rotate his squad in the hope of keeping them fresh, while navigating a COVID interrupted schedule. Inconsistency in selection ultimately meant inconsistency in performance for this team and it will be something they should be looking to improve on strategically for 2023.

  3. Relying too heavily on the Canes big four: The Hurricanes revolve their game around four players - Jordie Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea and Dane Coles and this season was no different. Take two or more of them out of the side and the Canes will usually drop a level or two in performance. Again, this was no more evident than their most recent performance against the Brumbies on Saturday. Going forward they need to figure out how to compete at the highest level without those four players. If they can do that next year, they will be in with a shout.

Stocks on the rise

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Hurricanes in 2022. Besides the big four, Justin Sangster, Aiden Morgan, Josh Moorby, TK Howden, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Brayden Iose and Bailyn Sullivan all made statement performances throughout the year and they will all be looking to take that form into 2023.

Stocks that plummeted in 2023

Asafo Aumua, Peter Umaga-Jensen and Tyrel Lomax probably had campaigns to forget for different reasons. They’ve all spent time in the All Black’s environment but probably didn’t enhance their credentials in 2022. Hopefully they can find their form again in the NPC so they can hit the ground running for the Canes in 2023.

Where do we need to recruit for 2023?

Tight five: this was a seriously weak area for the Canes in 2022 so getting both a world-class prop and a world-class lock will be high on the agenda for them during the off-season.

Wings: with the reliable Wes Goosen moving on, the Canes need to find a couple of wingers to add to their arsenal. Whether that’s targeting players from other franchises or looking to the NPC for a couple gold nuggets, they will be on the hunt for a couple classy finishers to add depth to an area that has historically been a strength.

Season grade: 5/10

Hurricanes awards, highlights and lowlights for 2022:

MVP: Ardie Savea

Rookie of the year: Josh Moorby (honourable mentions - Justin Sangster, Aiden Morgan)
Most improved: Bailyn Sullivan
Magic moment: Ardie Savea’s match winner against the Blues in Dunedin.
Best performance: vs Blues
Worst performance: vs Moana Pasifika

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