Kiwi wrap (Mon)
31 Mar 2008
Keo.co.za brings you the top stories from New Zealand.
Collins escapes citing
Jerry Collins will not be cited for his high challenge on Crusaders flanker Kieran Read.
Collins hit Read high in the face and was immediately penalised in the match between the Hurricanes and Crusaders last Friday.
The video replay shows Collins’s arm clearly connecting with Read’s head. However, citing commissioner Mike O’Leary found Collins had no case to answer.
Deans brushes off Carter concern
Robbie Deans believes the Crusaders will still be force even without their star player Dan Carter.
Carter suffered a ankle injury in Friday’s game against the Hurricanes and is likely to sit out for the next six weeks. The Crusaders are already without Stephen Brett, who would have replaced Carter at flyhalf if he wasn’t also on the injured list with a shoulder ailment.
Deans told the Press there’s enough depth in squad to still make a success of the season.
“We’ll just keep trucking on,” Dean said. “It’s bad luck for DC, and no-one likes to see a player suffer like that, but it’s just part of the territory.”
Deans said All Blacks fullback Leon Mac Donald may start at flyhalf when the Crusaders host the Lions in two weeks time.
“Leon’s a possibility. There’s a whole lot of things we can look at, really.”
Nuci’s breakdown blues
Blues coach David Nucifora has expressed his frustration with tactics aimed at slowing down ruck ball and how referees are equally slow to administer harsh punishment.
The Blues squeaked past the Bulls last Saturday but Nucifora was unhappy with the officiating of James Leckie, especially at the breakdown.
“Pretty frustrating, I’ve got to say. There’s obviously ways teams try to play us, and you have discussions and try to make sure ball is freed up and allowed to be played.
“We need to be better ourselves to make sure that doesn’t come into it, as far as winning the collisions better and clearing our ball better. Against these big South African sides where the collision area is quite difficult to win, once that collision is not won it becomes 50-50 ball. Then you’re really at the mercy of the whistle and how he views it. And that’s not a good place to be.
“In all honesty I felt the [full] penalties should have come out sooner than they did. The number of short-arm penalties in the 22 got a little out of hand for my liking.”
Nucifora also voiced his distaste for the rulings at scrum time. There was hardly a scrum that didn’t end in a free kick.
“We’re more concerned with [loosehead prop] Tony Woodcock. He obviously can’t scrummage any more,” said Nucifora. “Whatever he’s done to be penalised the number of times he was, that takes a lot of momentum away from us. We got penalised more times in the scrum tonight than we’d been penalised all year.
“The scrum was disappointing for us in the way it was managed.”
Meanwhile, Blues fullback Isa Nacewa has returned to training but won’t be considered for the Waratahs match this week.
This thread will be updated throughout the day.