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    Crusaders Rugby


    2nd Division
    2nd Division

    Crusaders Rugby

    Post by tressman1 on Sun Jul 04 2010, 12:47

    The dark side of Canterbury to NZ rugby



    Sunday News

    Last updated 05:00 04/07/2010

    Canterbury's increasing monopoly of New Zealand rugby is hurting our
    game. I detect a worrying trend of red-and-black influence with
    players, coaches and administrators.

    Sonny Bill Williams' choice to head to Christchurch was
    an obvious decision for his own development but not one that will help
    development in a broader sense.

    The rationale for him going to Canterbury is the same
    line that is being trotted out for the impending moves there by Israel
    Dagg and Adam Thomson – they will improve their play and that has to be
    good for our game.

    But is it? Let's take a deeper look.

    Williams arrives and what happens to Ryan Crotty? Of the non-All Blacks
    in the ITM Cup, Crotty is probably the next best No 12. But he's going
    to be on the bench for the compeition and most probably the Super 15.

    The same goes for Colin Slade. He's a great talent but he's going to be a backup when Dagg arrives.

    It's a great scenario for Canterbury and the Crusaders. But for New Zealand rugby? I don't think so.

    The spread of talent that was heralded with the arrival of Super rugby seems to be narrowing.

    Locks Brad Thorn and Ali Williams are other examples.

    Thorn ignores his Otago roots to don red and black. Williams has a
    bust-up with the Blues and, of all the teams he could have gone to and
    made a really significant difference with his talent, he went to All
    Blacks-ladened Crusaders.

    It seems Canterbury is now a pathway to All Blacks
    representation. But going and playing for Canterbury mightn't make you
    a better player, it might just make it easier for you to achieve your

    I think that's very dangerous. Some players have made
    it from there when I'm sure they would have if they were at other

    And then look at the coaching scenario.

    Crusaders assistant Mark Hammett crosses Cook Strait and gets the
    Hurricanes job. My understanding is that Canterbury coach Rob Penney
    was the second choice.

    I believe Hammett has been appointed ahead of more qualified people from within the Canes own franchise.

    The Canterbury influence is great at provincial level but I'm not sure it should be allowed to dominate our game.

    Hammett going to the Hurricanes spreads those tentacles even further.

    How can this hurt? Well, as an isolated example, mauling has never
    really been a Canterbury strength and, as a result, I think that has
    played a large part in how mauling has become a lost art in the New
    Zealand game.

    Take it further, and essentially the All Blacks assistants since 1999 have been through the Canterbury system too.

    This isn't so much a crack at Canterbury – they have
    dominated for the last decade, done their job fantastically well and
    their level of achievement is what everyone aspires to.

    But where it becomes a bit sticky if there appears to be an over-reaching influence at NZRU level to help them.

    Is it coincidental that recent chief executives and chairmen at HQ have Canterbury roots?

    The danger is that New Zealand rugby is becoming homogenised to one style.

    Variety is good and the role of the NZRU should be to take the best
    parts of our game and apply that to New Zealand and All Blacks rugby.

    But with the powerbrokers coming from the same
    provincial system, I think we are losing that variety in the way we
    play the game and – that's to our detriment.


    There's one stupid ingredient in the new players' collective and that's
    the salary cap which will operate at provinical level.

    It's used to promote an even competition. But it's also a driving force behind our loss of talent.

    The NZRU has been spouting on for a long time that we can't compete with the wages being paid overseas.

    So their solution to the problem is to bring in a salary cap to pay players less.

    Where's the logic in that?

    I believe we should be doing as much as we can to pay our payers more
    so t the money is comparable to what's on offer overseas.

    My experience in the UK was that salary caps were there
    to be broken. Closer to home, you only have to look at the NRL for
    evidence of that.

    A salary cap is all well and good in a sport like American Football that doesn't have a rival competition.

    But when you are competing for players in an open market like rugby is,
    then essentially your salary cap prevents you from being in the same

    This is one big dummy spit ( Crusaders have better players than us it's not fair) it seems to me nobody cared in the early days of the Super rugby that Auckland were top dogs, and had all the All Blacks in their team now after what has been years of Canterbury domination of NZ rugby they start to moan about how good we are and how we attract the good players. I say dry your eyes princess we did not moan when we were bottom of the Super 14 table 12 years ago, we just got better, you do the same!!!!

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