Canes Deservedly Caned
by Paul Waite
24 Feb 2002
Welcome to another Super 12.
Welcome to another year where, astonishingly enough, some New Zealand teams appear to be caught with their shorts down. You honestly have to wonder what’s going on with this. It’s almost as if the following bit of silliness took place…
Graham Mourie [answers phone]: “Hello?”
Gordon Slater [for it is he]: “Boss! … have you looked at the calendar??”
Graham: “No Gordy… why? … oh bugger, I’ve forgotten your birthday haven’t I?”
Gordy: “Not that! …mind you I wouldn’t have said no to another set of paisley patterned hankies, don’t get me wrong. No.. FOOTY SEASON STARTS IN A WEEK!!”
Graham: “(pause as it sinks in)… Bugger me, does it really??”
Gordy: “Shall I ring around and see who we can get for training??”
Graham: [the reknowned rugby brain thinking as quickly as ever] “Errr… I know, ring round and see who we can get for training. And tell them they’d better cut down on the beer. Thanks Gordy. [click]”
FX: sound of touch-tone dialling…
Graham: “Tana! … have you looked at the calendar??”
Tana Umaga: “Oh no. Not the Super 12 AGAIN! Can’t we forget it this year boss?”
The absolute rout that Hurricanes supporters were treated to this last Friday was pretty much a betrayal of trust. The fans trusted that the Hurricanes players had been doing the hard yards in the close season period, both on their own fitness and on the basics of building a team. They hadn’t.
Instead what we saw was a pathetically inept attempt at playing rugby by a bunch of people who looked like they’d enjoyed the summer to the max, and put all thoughts of training and preparation to the background. I’m sure if I talked to any of them they would insist that they’d put in the work, but all I’m saying is that the evidence indicates otherwise.
Looking at the Chiefs a similar effect seems to have taken place, though not as severe. Thank goodness for the Crusaders and Highlanders game down at Jade Stadium where some real rugby was played. Although not 100% match fit, the players had obviously put in the work both on themselves and as team units to come out and do justice to the fans, and it showed.
I know that the Hurricanes have had more changes to deal with than most, but the pack is essentially a unit from Taranki and the rest have played together many times before. That excuse won’t wash. The evidence was much too damning for that kind of get-out. The Hurricanes players and coach need to take a long look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they really did everything they could in the close-season to prepare for the first game of Super 12 2002.
If the answer is still “yes”, then they need to consult with the likes of the Crusaders and Highlanders coaching and playing staff and find out where the massive flaw in their thinking is.