Super Rugby 2021: Hurricanes won't look for Jordie Barrett to solve first-five woes

The Hurricanes won't rush into turning Jordie Barrett into a makeshift first-five, despite their current injury woes in the No.10 jersey.

After Sunday's 33-16 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch, the Hurricanes are sweating on the fitness of Jackson Garden-Bachop, who was forced to leave the field at half-time, after an Achilles tendon injury flare.

Garden-Bachop's exit saw Barrett shift from his preferred role of fullback, unable to prevent a second consecutive defeat for the Hurricanes. The Wellington side are now waiting on scan results around the severity of Garden-Bachop's injury.

The Hurricanes are also without first-five Simon Hickey, who suffered a knee injury before a ball had even been kicked in 2021.

But coach Jason Holland emphasises his preference is for Barrett to remain at fullback, rather than be shoehorned into an unfamiliar role.

"He's a possibility, but he's not as comfortable there as in the other places," Holland says. "We will have a talk about that.

"He's a chance to play there, but I'm not overly keen on it, to be honest. I think he's a bit wasted there, but we'll see how training goes Thursday-Friday."

Without Garden-Bachop and Hickey, the Hurricanes are left with Counties Manukau first-five Orbyn Leger or 19-year-old rookie Aidan Morgan. 

Elsewhere, hooker Asafo Aumua, who left the field early into the second half with obvious pain in his right arm, has been cleared of any serious injury this week. 

"He's got nothing broken," Holland says. "But obviously his AC [shoulder] joint is pretty banged up."

Aumua's absence could be offest by Dane Coles' return, with the All Blacks veteran on the mend from a calf injury, after the Hurricanes' first two matches of 2021.

But Holland adds that Coles won't be rushed back into action too soon.

"We're hoping, but we won't get too excited," he says. "He definitely won't be right to peel out 50-60 minutes.

"We'll play it by ear. Hopefully, he's right, but if it comes around too quick, then we'll accept that."

The absence of Aumua and Coles would leave Ricky Riccitelli as the only senior hooker standing, with the inexperienced duo of James O'Reilly and Tyrone Thompson also options.

The Hurricanes are currently on their bye week and return to competition on March 20 against the Chiefs at Sky Stadium.

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the Crusaders v Chiefs Super Rugby Aotearoa clash