The Hurricanes and Highlanders kick off Super Rugby for the year with their clash in Wellington tonight as the tournament enters a new phase with the extended competition split into three conferences throwing up a host of local derby's and a all new six team playoff format.
The Hurricanes once again have a team on paper big and bad enough to weaken the knees of any opponent, but have consistently fallen just short of winning their maiden title.
New coach Mark Hammett says the Hurricanes took their time getting up to speed during the pre-season and so he doesn't want a slow start at Westpac Stadium tonight...
PLAY AUDIO:RUGBY PHASE
A team making the Super Rugby final this year could play as many as 19 games.