CRUSADERS: Colin Slade, Johnny McNicholl, Reynold Lee-Lo, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Tom Taylor, Willi Heinz, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Tim Perry, Nepo Laulala, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Andy Ellis, Adam Whitelock, Kieran Fonotia.
On Friday night, in the opening round proper of this year's three-nation competition, the Chiefs prevailed 18-10 over the Crusaders on the back of a cracking opening try to Robbie Fruean and a heartbreaking, bonus point-denying closer to James Lowe via the intercept.
One of the major issues in 2013 was that the opposition seemed to keep beating the Highlanders to the breakdown. This was not a problem last night as the loose forwards tore around the field to ensure the secured their own ball and disrupted a fair amount of Blues ball. Shane Christie was your typical scavenging openside flanker, being the first to the ruck and cutting down the Blues backline's space.
Nasi Manu worked hard in the tight-loose, strong in contact situations while also capable of turning over ball and doing well out wider. Gareth Evans ranged a bit more, but was still prominent in the loose, making tackles and a few good runs in the open. They were a loose forward trio they complemented each other well and were a large reason for the win.
Fullback Marty Banks made a strong Super Rugby debut despite his late intercept pass to a marginally onside, according to the TMO, Mvovo. Banks capped a composed first half of Super Rugby with a 54 metre penalty and the Hurricanes went to the sheds trailing just 10-6 on the scoreboard. Banks' option taking was particularly sound and he created numerous opportunities for the Hurricanes in counter attack with his ability to create space for others.
Tim Perry's arrival at the Crusaders seemed a curious move.
Coach Todd Blackadder's decision to select Perry in his squad raised questions as to why he needed another loosehead when All Blacks specialist Wyatt Crockett and international-in-waiting Joe Moody were already on his books.
Personal Development Manager
The New Zealand Rugby Union, the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association and the Tasman Rugby Union seek applicants for the part-time, fixed-term position of Personal Development Manager (PDM).
This position is part of the New Zealand Rugby Personal Development Programme. The Programme’s focus is to support, guide and assist players in identifying and navigating their individual pathways to success, both on and off the field. It is designed to have an impact on players for life – during and after their rugby playing career. Key focus areas include career, education, personal planning (including financial), and transition management both into and out of the professional rugby environment.
Organisations and contractors are also invited to submit an application or proposal for this service delivery.
For a copy of the job description and application form for these positions, go to www.nzru.co.nz contact NZRU Human Resources on (04) 499 4995. Applications, including curriculum vitae and cover letter, should be directed by email to email@example.com or posted to Human Resources, New Zealand Rugby Union, PO Box 2172, WELLINGTON 6140.
Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday 5th March.