Kiwi wrap (Tues) brings you the top stories from New Zealand.

Blues cautious with Nacewa

The Blues are unlikely to risk utility-back Isa Nacewa when they face the Brumbies on Saturday.

Nacewa has spent a lengthy period on the sidelines with a knee injury, but has recovered to the point where he could join the team in their training runs this week.

“I’ve been so frustrated sitting round not being in the team,” he told Rugbyheaven. “Mentally I just want to get out there and play. But the doc and the medical staff will be wary this week of not pushing me too hard and come Wednesday is probably when we’ll make a decision on whether I’m fit enough to play.”

The looming bye for the Blues will be a major factor in his decision. “It’s always tough when you have a bye the following week,” he said. “We don’t like to think ahead, but if I didn’t play I’d have an extra two weeks to get it a lot better than where it would be.”

Football star to join All Blacks

Former Manchester United and Ireland great Roy Keane will spend time studying the All Blacks this season.

Keane, who currently coaches English Championship side Sunderland, is studying for his Uefa Pro Licence, which is a mandatory qualification for all managers in the Premier League. Students are required to spend time in another sport, explaining Keane’s desire to meet up with Graham Henry and his team.

Keane told media in the UK: “What level of involvement I can have, just watching training or whatever, I don’t know. I have the green light to have three or four days with them. I don’t know if I will be allowed in to any team talks. I’ll keep my head down and just watch them, try to plug into what they are always about.”

Refs under increasing fire

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans says referees assessments should be public knowledge.

Deans was reacting to questions around Australian referee Paul Marks’s shocking decision in the final minutes of the Hurricanes/Sharks match, which cost the Canes a victory.

Referees are assessed weekly but their scores are not made public. There are growing calls or referees to take accountability openly. Crusaders coach Robbie Deans is one who supports the idea of having their performance assessments made public.

“Everyone can see it. So why hide from it? Why not discuss it? It’s an opportunity to educate as well,” Deans said. “You get the comment and dialogue anyway, so why not make it fully transparent and 360 degrees with everyone involved in the process. Quite often you will get conjecture and subjective comment, where it’s not appropriate as well,” he added. “It would be easier to have a fully open, available and transparent process.”

Australian Rugby Union referees’ manager Peter Marshall said Marks admitted to him he should have gone to the TMO. Marshall, however, defended Marks saying that one incident didn’t make him a poor referee.

“It’s not just one decision, it’s the overall performance they (selectors) will look at,” Marshall said. “We don’t drop people for one decision. He was disappointed he made that decision. He’ll discuss it with the referees coach (former test referee Andrew Cole) but he acknowledges he could have handled it differently. People are being a little bit harsh but I can understand it was a crucial decision.”

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