Super Rugby: Hurricanes in hot water early

The Hurricanes are adamant they're not behind the eight ball just two months out from the start of the Super Rugby season, despite losing Ardie Savea for up to five months.

Savea will have knee surgery next week and things could yet worsen for the Canes, with John Plumtree widely tipped to join Ian Foster or Scott Robertson as an All Blacks assistant coach.

Newhsub understands John Plumtree's been shoulder tapped to join either Ian Foster or Scott Robertson in the role.

"We're aware of the speculation," said Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee. "We've got a close and open relationship with [Plumtree]. He's got my support and the club's support but we'll be disappointed if he moves on.

Lee wouldn't confirm the speculation but said they were assessing all contingency plans, if a promotion to the All Blacks means Plumtree is unable to fulfill his Hurricanes commitments.

But the Hurricanes' headaches run deeper than just coaches.

Having already lost Beauden Barrett to the Blues, they'll now be without Savea for the majority of the season.

"I don't see it as being on the backfoot, it's a challenge. You saw at the World Cup his influence over the All Blacks, so he's massive for us in Super Rugby. But we're also really confident in the guys we've got in the squad."

With the Canes already without Barrett and Savea, losing Plumtree sooner than expected would leave them with a mountain to climb next season.

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