Super Rugby Aotearoa: Hurricanes have history on their side despite horrendous start to 2021 campaign

Despite a second straight defeat, the Hurricanes believe they are far from a spent force as in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

In an 0-2 hole with just six games to play, Jason Holland's side need to run close to perfect for the rest of the campaign to force their way into the final.

But it's not unfamiliar territory for the Hurricanes, who were in the same spot at this point of the 2020 inaugural season.

Following a third-round bye, the Hurricanes peeled off five straight wins to eventually finish third.

That history is of some comfort for Holland, who is already putting Sunday's 33-16 loss against the Crusaders to bed.\

"We did turn it around last year," Holland says.

"We know we can turn it around, we've just got to get rid of the little things from our game where we put the pressure on ourselves and let off the opposition."

That turn-around begins in two weeks against the Chiefs, who lost their first game to the Highlanders on Friday night.

And while the Chiefs are staring down the barrel of a record eleven-straight Super Rugby losses, Holland says his side has plenty of improving to do if they want to inflict more misery on the team from the Waikato.

The Hurricanes leaked 26 first-half points on Sunday, were outscored five tries to two and should have lost by more, as a late surge helped them save some face.

Their set-piece was a mess, while handling errors led to nearly half of the Crusaders points.

"A side like the Crusaders, if you give a soft try when Codie [Taylor] taps the ball, and we switch off and he scores and the momentum shifts."

Meanwhile, it's business as usual for Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, as the red and blacks marched to their eighth win in their last nine Super Rugby Aotearoa games.

The only gripe for Robertson came at scrum time, where his dominating pack was penalised twice by referee Ben O'Keeffe, despite having a clear ascendancy.

"It's all very technical stuff," Robertson says. "We thought we dominated, and they thought we were walking round, which [forwards coach] Jason Ryan will vehemently deny."

Next up is the embattled Chiefs, who will be desperate to break their win drought.

Robertson says he is "wary" of Clayton McMillan's side and expects a traditional humdinger derby on Saturday.

"You get desperate pretty quick in this comp, don't you?”

"We've had some cracker battles over the years [against the Chiefs], so we're wary."