Canterbury accused of greed over Senio signing

Bay of Plenty Rugby chairman Stuart Harvey has fired a broadside at Canterbury after the rich South Island union poached halfback Kevin Senio.

Harvey had no problems with Senio's reasons for moving.

Senio is joining the Crusaders and Canterbury to replace Justin Marshall, greatly enhancing his prospects of holding on to his All Blacks jersey.

But what frustrates Harvey is what he believes is Canterbury's greed, with the province already boasting Crusaders No 9 Jamie Nutbrown and New Zealand Colt Andrew Ellis.

"I don't know why Canterbury need another top-grade halfback," Harvey said.

"We were all hoping that the salary cap was going to stem things a little bit but I don't think it will.

"These fellas just seem to be a law unto themselves and I don't think New Zealand Rugby will stand up to them."

Finding a replacement for Senio will be tough, although Harvey is in favour of developing players in the province.

The expansion of the NPC next year means it's a players' market at present and Harvey suspects BOP may need a change in thinking.

"You've got the four new unions coming in, chasing anything that's moving. We've already seen it -- Danny Lee is going back to Hawke's Bay and Kristian Ormsby is going back to Counties.

"We have tried to buy players over the past three years to try to keep us competitive, but we've got to put more effort into bringing on our own."

Chiefs coach Ian Foster was also ruing the loss of Senio and indicated it would probably force him to look outside the franchise for a backup to All Blacks test halfback Byron Kelleher.

"We don't enjoy losing anyone and it's disappointing a player has made a decision to go somewhere else, particularly when it appears that franchise is already well covered in that position," Foster said.

"It doesn't make a lot of sense."

Foster said how Bay of Plenty went about replacing Senio was up to them.

If a player did not transfer to the Chiefs region, the draft was an option.

"There are still a few more games of NPC to go and it's an interesting market place out there with a number of halfbacks putting their hands up," Foster said.

"We didn't want to lose Kevin. We've seen three or four halfbacks out there that we've been interested in."

Senio's move was partially offset for the re-signing of Chiefs by All Blacks openside flanker Marty Holah.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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