Savea steps up in different way for Hurricanes
“He was right amongst it. It was a different type of game for him. He had to get up there and do a lot of dirty work. That was another side I’m seeing to him,” Plumtree said.
The coach thanked his man afterwards because while his big runs with ball in hand and tackling could be seen by everyone, but on Friday he had to get amongst the contest with some physical Blues players.
“I’ll probably have to put him on ice tonight, he’s pretty dinged up,” he said.
The Hurricanes spent a lot of time in their own 22m area in the game as the Blues launched some severe, but unsuccessful, assaults as the Hurricanes tackled their way to success.
“I think we feel like we’re battling. We are capable of playing really good football but when it turns ugly we also want to win those ugly moments,” Plumtree said.
“If we get to the end and get a shot [at a final], okay, you never know. But every week we’re hard on ourselves about looking for improvements and we’ve got standards we’re trying to live up to.
“We’re blooding young players too, and they’ve been amongst all that which is good because they’re seeing what it takes and how tough it is and they’re amongst those wins and its giving them confidence.
“We were under the pump in our 22 for long periods and [the Blues] will be disappointed they weren’t a bit more clinical. We had to show a fair bit of ticker, and this team has been doing that the whole year. That’s what I’m most proud of with this group.
“We’re not perfect but we will never give up – it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard looks like,” he said.
In spite of the Blues dominance of territory and possession, there was a calmness, and confidence, about the way the Hurricanes approached their task and that brought its own reward.
“I was proud of Beaudy [Beauden Barrett] and TJ [Perenara], and all the leaders, the drivers…they kept their cool. The bench had to do a big job too. We got there in the end but it wasn’t very pretty.
There was no respite from recent pressure applied at scrum time.
“We were battling away. We came under pressure under our posts a few times but the rest of the scrums we didn’t do too bad. It was way better than last week,” he said.
It had been a physical game, as they expected and the changing room reflected that with a lot of tired bodies, Plumtree said.