- By Kevin McCarthy
It’s the rugby season. As always, arriving a couple of weeks, or months too early. I mean, I plan on sitting at the Basin on day four of the cricket.
But by that time, round one of Super Rugby will be done and dusted.
Traditionally this is when the fan lays out their stall, and makes foolish predictions about their team and the year ahead.
Let’s not do that. When it comes to the Hurricanes, on paper they look a typical mix of young comers, some marque stars, and a few old timers clocking up their last season or so.
Based on last year, they should be there or thereabouts come the fight for the top spots, especially if they can hit the ground running. How vague is that? Vague enough to apply to a lot of teams.
Which kind of says something about the Hurricanes. Last year, they were shoulda couldas, pushing some of the top sides close, but then blowing a couple of what would be considered gimmes.
Without the phenomenal Ardie Savea, they would have sunk into mediocrity.
So this season needs to be about nailing the opportunities, about the young guns giving the team and edge, and being in the running from the start, rather than playing continual catchup on the tournament table.
To which a kind opening draw aka playing Australian teams, in particular the Rebels, must be the first item to tick off. Queensland should never be taken lightly, but it’s a game the Hurricanes need to win to set a marker.
Facing the Blues in round 3, with two wins under the belt, will be much more fun that limping in with a loss-win, or perish the thought, loss loss.
Let the games begin!
Teams and details of three matches this weekend in the link below.
Ian Foster appears to have been stewing over the summer, judging by his frankly very odd outburst this week about the appointment of the future All Black coach.
New Zealand Rugby, having created a vacuum over what is happening, shouldn’t be surprised somewhere abhorred said vacuum and decided to fill it.
But Foster surely needed some wise counsel before doing what he did.
Of course, NZR is going to appoint the next coach before the world cup is decided. They really have no choice, lest they have no one left to choose from.
Ian Foster has a problem with that. He says it’s a distraction for his team ahead of the Cup.
This is a kite which I am sure flies very poorly with 99 per cent of rugby fans. The idea that the players toss and turn over who exactly will coach them next year seems fantastical.
Clearly, as well, Ian Foster would like to potentially be the coach post-World Cup.
But you know, if he achieves a pretty long shot and the All Blacks win, he will have won a world cup, and been part of two world cup winning operations. Is that not enough? Does the coaching role have to stay frozen in aspic until the coach implodes?
And if he, as is more likely, fails at the World Cup – no matter how meritoriously the side performs – then he will in no way be coaching the team into the future.
We all know Scott Robertson is the future. Ian Foster knows that too. He’s got one last hurrah to enjoy, and hopefully a hugely successful one he can toast with champagne rather than these rather sour grapes.