Execution in crucial plays will be the goal for the Hurricanes to get back on a winning run when hosting the Waratahs in Wellington in Super Rugby Pacific action on Friday.

The Hurricanes lost to the Blues in round three but had identified the issues contributing to their first loss after two games won in Australia.

Holland said their post-mortem concentrated a lot on their first-half effort against the Blues, especially how they allowed the Blues to play the game on their terms. Discipline and skill errors by the Hurricanes contributed to that.

"We had 38 per cent of the ball in the first half and when we get to 48-50 per cent, we win games."

Another of the lessons from their loss was the need to execute what they had practised. Their choice to take a late tap penalty out from the Blues line was correct, but they hadn't done what they had planned. 

The Waratahs had been up and down in their games so far.

"They've got some good players when you look at their teams. They're pretty solid, and I think they'll beat anyone on their day. By their standards, they would say they didn't play to their standards against the Rebels, which probably means they'll be a bit sharper for that this week.

"They've got a lot of similarities to the Blues, they're a heavy pack. They've got a good tight five and they've got loosies who just want to hunt the ball and go hard at the breakdown, similar to what we got from Dalton [Papali'i] and Hoskins [Sotutu] last week."

He said they also had some excellent wings, and if getting their tails up, they would be hard to contain, he said.

Loose forward Ardie Savea's return meant no spot for Peter Lakai for Friday's game, but with Du'Plessis Kirifi and Devan Sanders playing well last week, they deserved their places for the game.

"We've got to get our coverage right on the bench. He played well and is not in the team but that is a pretty good indication of our depth."

Salesi Rayasi missed out in the desire to have competition in the three-quarters, and Kini Naholo has impressed in the last two weeks in the development side and deserved his chance.

"He's in pretty good nick at the moment, probably the best he's been for a while around his body shape. He's sharp and he's lost a few kgs. He's pretty electric with the ball in hand, he's a powerful man and he's thrived in the last couple of weeks."

Hooker Asafo Aumua will start ahead of Dane Coles. That was because he had shown some great form this year, especially off the bench, and deserved a start, while Coles would provide a different perspective later in the game.

Flanker Caleb Delany, an outstanding contributor through the first three weeks, is also missing from the side and is expected to be out for four to five weeks following an elbow injury.