Hurricanes centre Tim Bateman praises the club's young guns
Tim Bateman believes the Hurricanes can build on an encouraging 2012 Super Rugby season.
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC
Last Updated: 12/02/13 6:10pm
The Hurricanes won six of the final seven games to just miss out on the end-of-season play-offs by two points.
However they finished as the tournament's top try-scorers, crossing an impressive 58 times in 16 games.
And talented centre Bateman saw enough over the course of the season to be optimistic about the franchise's chances this time around.
"I think the expectations last season were low after so many players left but this is a chance for us to kick on," Bateman told Sky Sports.
"Against the New Zealand teams, although we beat the Blues twice, we lost our first games against the Highlanders, Crusaders and Chiefs. However we went on to win the second games against them.
"That was pleasing as it shows we are improving as a young side. Hopefully we can now go on and build on this.
"The margins between a loss and a win are minimal so it is important that we keep improving. All our goals are performance-based. If you can get the performance right the results will then look after themselves."
Although the Hurricanes have some experienced campaigners in Conrad Smith, Ben Franks and Victor Vito, they have a core of exciting young players.
"I started at the Crusaders in '07 so although I am only 25 I feel like one of the old ones," added Bateman. "The likes of TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett are just 20/21 but the way they conduct themselves on and off the pitch is superb."
One of the fresh young faces on the block will be Ardie Savea, the younger brother of the club's All Blacks winger Julian.
And having already made his mark on the ITM Cup for Wellington, there is an expectation that he can now make the step up to Super Rugby.
"Ardie is really young, just 19. He had a great ITM Cup and was the real find of the tournament," said Bateman.
"He has pace and skill. He might be a loose forward but he can out-run wingers and is one of our quickest players.
"When you see a loose forward that can step a full-back and score tries it is obviously exciting.
"However he still needs to develop and bulk up a little. We also have some really good loose forwards at the club so there is a lot of competition for places."