Cup vital in spawning Super stars, says Cooper

By Anendra Singh

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Cooper said if they don't have a decent NPC season then the platform for nurturing Super Rugby talent could become somewhat shaky. Photo / NZPA
Cooper said if they don't have a decent NPC season then the platform for nurturing Super Rugby talent could become somewhat shaky. Photo / NZPA

Colin Cooper doesn't have any qualms about the international rugby calendar stealing the thunder from the domestic ITM Cup competition.

"The number of games in a short time and the preparation time are more the issues for this country," the TenderLink Taranaki coach said yesterday before they play the Hawke's Bay Magpies in Napier tomorrow night.

Cooper said if they don't have a decent NPC season then the platform for nurturing Super Rugby talent could become somewhat shaky.

"It is where we help amateurs to become professionals."

Boasting a dozen Super players this season, he said players know the ITM Cup would be the pathway to Super success.

South Africa have the Currie Cup and Australia are creating a template similar to the NPC although he hadn't formulated an opinion on experimenting with rule changes, such as reducing the points from penalties and dropped goals, which he suspects are there to boost excitement.

Tweaks, he said, were good but preserving the sanctity of rugby was equally imperative.

"If it suits then that's great but you can't change just for entertainment."

Life wasn't any different in the province since they switched allegiances to the Chiefs from the Hurricanes although there was the promise of a couple of Super games in New Plymouth. "Players will go to any franchise for the experience but some of the fans are still with the Canes and that's all right."

He didn't think rain would necessarily suit the James Marshall-skippered Taranaki tomorrow at McLean Park.

With Marshall, Marty McKenzie, Charlie Ngatai and Fijian wingers Seta Tamanivalu and Waisake Naholo in the Naki backline, Cooper felt even the Magpies would prefer a dry day to set the match alight.


TARANAKI: 1 Mitchell Graham, 2 Rhys Marshall, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 4 Riki Hoeata, 5. James Broadhurst, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 7 Berny Hall, 8 Blade Thomson, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 10 Marty McKenzie, 11 Waisake Naholo, 12 James Marshall (c), 13 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 15 Codey Rei.

Reserves: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Sione Lea, 18 Toa Halafihi, 19 Doug Tietjens, 20 Warwick Lahmert, 21 Jackson Ormond, 22 Beaudein Waaka.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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