To my mind, the NZRFU should fight to hang onto Robbie Deans. He is arguably one of the best coaches in the country. Compare him to other New Zealand coaches in the Super 14 at the moment. He had the faith in his systems to bring back the returning All Blacks this weekend. They didn't let him down, seamlessly fitting in and giving the Crusaders a bonus point winning edge. He has an understanding of how to manage a game in all the elements, faith in his strategy and his player's minds. The incorporation of his star players after a two month absence could have proved a costly mistake. Instead, they started where they had left off last year. Their combinations, maybe for the first twenty minutes were slightly rusty, but after this, there was only one team in all its class that was going to triumph. And that team was red and black.
Compare Deans to Colin Cooper of the Hurricanes. Cooper has an unbelievable array of talent in the team at his disposal – and when the likes of Jerry Collins, Rodney So'oialo and Conrad Smith play for the All Blacks we see them step up to the plate and thrill. Not the case with Cooper’s Hurricanes. They were just so disappointing and inept against the Lions (who aren’t exactly a sparkling team themselves). As much as I hate to blame a coach – because when it does come down to it – the team that takes the field should be accountable – I can’t help but think it is the coaching that is letting this side down. The Hurricanes had no shape or structure. They played like the English in the 2006 autumn internationals, unintelligently. In short, they were just frustrating to watch. I think Cooper really has to look at changing his tactics because at the moment, his tactics are letting him, his team and the Hurricanes supporters down. And no matter whether the returing All Blacks are rusty or bursting with newly conditioned muscle, there should be no excuse with the personnel in the team, losing to a middle to bottom ranking South African side.