Waratahs plotting hit-and-run job on Canes

Darren Walton
AAP

Intent on restoring battered national pride, the NSW Waratahs believe they can pull off an audacious hit-and-run job on the high-flying Hurricanes on Friday night.

The Waratahs flew out for Wellington on Thursday quietly confident that spending barely 36 hours in New Zealand is the secret to ending six weeks of trans-Tasman torment for Australian Super Rugby sides.

Eleven losses from 11 matches for the Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Western Force, Melbourne Rebels and conference-leading Brumbies against Kiwi opposition in 2017 makes for sorry reading.

But it hasn't eroded the confidence of Waratahs captain Michael Hooper.

"It almost gets you more enthusiastic because you want to be the team that breaks it," the flanker said before flying out of Sydney.

"We've only played one Kiwi team this year, other than the trials of course. We get a second shot at it this weekend and we're super keen to notch that up and be the team that does it."

The Waratahs weren't due to arrive in the New Zealand capital until 4pm on match eve.

"It doesn't give you much time to think about much else going on," Hooper said.

"We hit the ground, we lose the day and have a quick little run at the park, then you wake up on game day so you're good to go.

"It's a good challenge first of all and it's really exciting that you can just turn up to another country with everything to play for."

The Waratahs won their last meeting with the Hurricanes in Wellington, with big No.8 Wycliff Palu at his destructive best.

With Palu now retired, Hooper isn't expecting the workaholic Michael Wells to replace him, but rather than calling on the Waratahs' big men to stand up at the Cake Tin.

The skipper craves a commanding performance in particular from Will Skelton following the 140kg lock's announcement this week he was leaving for London Saracens at season's end.

"We've seen over the years some of the big involvements he can have," Hooper said.

"Knowing he's playing 50 or 60 minutes, maximising the amount of positive involvements in the game he can have is key for him.

"It's something I know he wants to get right. He doesn't want to be wasting his opportunities to be making an impact."

Rather than stewing over Sunday's 19-point loss to the Crusaders, the Waratahs are drawing positives from the defeat.

"Getting within 10 minutes off a really good result last week has left a lot in the tank for us to really get up for against these guys," Hooper said.

The Hurricanes will be without Julian and Ardie Savea and skipper Dane Coles, among others injured or being rested.

"They're rolling out still a pretty sharp team. They've got TJ ( Perenara), they've got Beauden (Barrett), his brother (Jordie) there at the back.

"They've got a plethora of good players all the time.

"I don't think they'd be taking us lightly. If anything, on previous years, they shouldn't be."