Rough and tumble in Canes-Crusaders matches
The Press Friday, 28 March 2008
The Press Friday, 28 March 2008
Off the field they are mates. But on it, they can scrap like cats bundled up in a sack.
There is something about Crusaders-Hurricanes matches -- especially at Wellington's Westpac Stadium -- that make the players cranky.
In 2004 Jerry Collins knocked Chris Jack senseless with a high tackle and in 2006 tempers again flared when Neemia Tialata pinned Richie McCaw to the bottom of a ruck with one paw around his throat. Later a frustrated Collins threw the ball at McCaw's head.
Tonight's fixture in Wellington is the most keenly anticipated Super 14 match played between two New Zealand sides this season, with the Hurricanes eager to topple the unbeaten Crusaders before they head into next weekend's bye.
McCaw says he is never apprehensive about bashing his All Blacks team-mates and friends, instead stating it can be used as motivation.
"It can sometimes be easier. If you know guys well, you want to get one over them. That's always been the case when you play against mates. You go hell for leather and all sorts of things go on out on the field. But as soon as the whistle goes, it's over."
The individual match-ups are keenly anticipated and the All Blacks selectors will use them to gauge players' form as they ponder their mix for the tests against Ireland and England in June.
McCaw, Kieran Read and Mose Tuiali'i will contest the loose ball and bulk up the defensive lines against Chris Masoe, Jerry Collins and Rodney So'oialo, locks Ali Williams and Brad Thorn will measure themselves against Craig Clarke and Jason Eaton and hooker Corey Flynn comes up against Andrew Hore.
For in-form halfback Andy Ellis it is an opportunity to prove to Hurricanes fans he was a worthy selection ahead of Piri Weepu at the World Cup and in the midfield Casey Laulala gets a crack at outshining Conrad Smith.
With plenty on the line, it will be of no surprise if tempers fray.
"There's all sorts of things that go on out in the field that perhaps you wouldn't say or do if you weren't on it," McCaw admitted. "But that's the way it is. You walk off it and leave it. That's the great thing about playing guys you know so well -- you go hard as you would against anyone and then walk off and have a laugh about it. That's what sport is about."
Reports have filtered back to the Crusaders camp that the Hurricanes ringed this match before the season began as the one they want to win.
McCaw said he was aware of such talk but said he won't be sledging on the field.
"Some guys do, but I'm one who does not get into that," he said."Perhaps there is the odd little comment when you get up from the breakdown and Andrew Hore is a bit of a character like that. I'm not big into it. Nah, not much."
The history books favour the Crusaders, who have won 11 of their 14 clashes since 1996, but they remain edgy about the Hurricanes who are fresh off the bye.
"Sure, we have talked about it this week that we have to bring the game we need -- deny them the ball and match them physically which we have to do in most games. It's probably more important this week."
Offside: Super 14 week 7
Join Dominion Post rugby writers Jim Kayes and Toby Robson for an irreverent take on the Super 14. This week: The Hurricanes vs the Crusaders - will this be the game of the season?
-> huge budget for this show!!! woaw!!! (I'm sorry)
& (thanks for the news Izzy) HAPPY BIRTHDAY M. WALSH!!!!!
Domestic rugby facing revamp
Rugby officials have guaranteed changes will be made to the make up of domestic rugby in the near future.
I have found the result. As I don't want to ruin your pleasure to watch the match if you (like me) don't watch it live, but if you are too curious (like me AGAIN!), follow the link (without the title!) http://www.stuff.co.nz/4455592a1823.html