6 Sep

Some headaches are good to have
by Tracey Nelson
6 Sep 2001

Canterbury have a little problem on their hands at the moment. Actually, it’s probably slightly on the larger side of little, but having said that – it’s a very nice problem to have.

With over half the pack away on All Black duty, and missing their lynch pins of Marshall and Mehrtens from the backline, the Canterbury boys have kept the home fires burning brightly and have sucessfully clocked up maximum points in their three NPC games to date – playing some pretty impressive rugby in doing so.

While the old stalwarts of the team such as Toddy, Greg Feek and Daryl Gibson have helped guide the team along the way, it’s been the young up and comers such as NZ Colts captain Richard McCaw (openside flanker) and past colts Nathan and Aaron Mauger, and Ben Blair that have really been sizzling in the red and black jersey.

Also looking hot to trot has been Scott Robertson, playing at No 8 this season and definitely looking the goods in this position. Combined with Sam Broomhall and McCaw, the Canterbury loose trio really took it Bay of Plenty in last weekend’s Ranfurly Shield defence and were instrumental in the 72-3 drubbing that was handed out to the luckless Bay.

Now with the finish of the Tri-Nations the All Blacks will return from duty to join their provincial sides, and what a headache this is going to be for coach Steve Hansen.

While his front row of Feek, Sexton and Hewitt demolished the BOP front row last week, he will have an All Black hooker and TH prop to add to the mix.

Toddy and league-convert Brad Thorn have done a stirling job winning lineout ball and locking the scrum, but now he has two All Black locks to choose from as well.

Sam Broomhall has been outstanding on the blindside, but Reuben Thorne is now returning to the fold.

And in the backline the youthful pairing of Ben Hurst and Aaron Mauger are going to be competing with the duo of Marshall and Mehrts.

It’s going to be very hard for Hansen to drop his galant provincial troops to the bench or beyond to make way for the returning All Blacks. But certainly, if you’re going to have selection headaches this is the sort of headache you’d want!

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