Above fans flock on to the field after a Hurricanes match this year. It is another f word that is pondered below.
Here comes those new Super Rugby squads, and time for the f-word. No, not that f- word, but the one that hangs around any Hurricanes squad announcement.
F as in forwards. F as in the grade people usually assign to the Canes pack. Totally unfair, but there you go.
Cue the latest squad and cue the lead angle on the announcement – it’s the flying big winger, Salesi Rayasi.
No offence to him, but the Hurricanes are plenty packed with flying wingers. So another one is nice, but when it comes to the sharp end, which would you rather have? A commanding tight five forward, or another back.
The main early interest is that we’ve picked up Heiden Bedwell-Curtis from the Crusaders. It’s either a sign he isn’t quite up to their standards, or a sign they think their cup runneth over. So, he could be the great acquisition – or maybe not.
Actually I only half mean what I’ve written. While we’ve lost Brad Shields and Michael Fatialofa, there’ll be plenty of interest in whether in particular, those big young locks can grow their games.
There’s last year’s blossomer Gareth Williams to kick on, and an Ardie Savea that’s finally hitting his potential at test level. And the hookers are a decent threesome, aren’t they, especially if Aumua can be reignited.
Quite frankly, it would have been nice to recruit the next Brodie Retallick, or even the old Brodie Retallick. But news flash, you generally don’t get a shot at those.
So let’s hear it for the new coaching triumvirate, because now it’s Plumtree’s chance in charge to shape his Hurricanes. Will he extract the maximum from his forwards or even get them over-achieving. You suspect he is going to need to.
Remember as well that squad depth is going to be as important if not more so than the headliners. – It’s a long season in world cup year with no June window to slow things down.
Forgive the confusion but isn’t that new collar on the new All Black jersey no such thing – it in short is not a collar. It looks like the Vicar of Tooting Farnham dressed themselves without looking in the mirror.
And I seem to remember the return of the white collar a few years ago, before it disappeared again.
I don’t really care if it sells a few more jerseys. I am of the old school that only actual ALL Blacks should wear the black jersey but whatever spins your wheels. I kind of figure if you are wearing anything in black then you’re a New Zealand supporter or in the Wellington civil service.. And it’s a damn sight cheaper.
The epicness of the Japan test is partly around who will in 10 years time be that diamond in the rough, and who isn’t sighted again.
I’m reminded of the Wairarapa Bush lock Mike McCool, plucked from obscurity for one test against the Wallabies in 1980. He never played again.
My brother met him not long after. McCool wasn’t sure why he’d been picked and so wasn’t too nonplussed by being unpicked. You wonder if the same thought will be going through a few heads in Japan this weekend.
Kevin is a lifetime Hurricanes fan. He and his partner are on a two-year Volunteer Service Abroad posting to Vanuatu's Espiritu Santo island. He's working on a project to build a South Pacific World War 2 museum on the site of an enormous Allied base on the island. Check it out at www.southpacificwwiimuseum.com