Friday, March 28, 2008

Inky comments on new Canadian coach

An update to the earlier news that Canada has hired ex-All Black, Taranaki coach and All Black selector Kieran Crowley as their new head coach.

I asked Inky, one of the finest Kiwi rugby scribes around, if he could share a few comments about what sort of style and team selection we might expect from Crowley.

Inky comments:

"Kieran (a.k.a. Colt) Crowley was a fine goal-kicking fullback whose reliability under the high ball, touch-finding accuracy and defensive techniques far outweighed any perceived lack of attacking flair.

"He was one of John Mitchell's selectors from 2001-2003.

"He is big on the idea of recruitment rather than flogging any dead horses, but also a fierce team man. He is a fitness fundamentalist who believes that the basics + a good knowledge of one's own core tasks + an additional understanding of team-mates duties will get a player further than any hot-stepping, precocious talent.

"With his easy manner, simple old school philosophy and hard-core club ethic he can turn any difficult young fellow into an ambassador for the sport, as he did recently with some hard cases in the 2007 NZ Universities side.

"They played and lost to Canada last year, which I think was good for the Canadians' World Cup preparation... they played good rugby in a tough group... sure, they didn't get a win and drew 12-12 with Japan on a day when every single bounce of the ball favoured the Japanese, but they lost to Australia by sixty-odd points less than the Japanese and held Fiji, the Wallabies and Welsh to respectable margins until well into their matches.

"NZ Universities v Canada may even be where Colt was first approached to work with the Canadian team, or perhaps some longstanding associations of his with Canada were instrumental in them getting the NZ Universities fixture to begin with."


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