Quackers out to try new moves

By SHANE HURNDELL


Hawke's Bay's All Black winger Zac Guildford has promised some new "Quackers Anonymous" signals when he plays for the Crusaders against the Chiefs at Napier's McLean Park tonight.

"But it will depend if I get across the tryline and if we're in front at the time. If we're travelling pretty well there will be some signals for the fans," Guildford said after the Crusaders training session in Christchurch on Wednesday.

Left winger Guildford and fellow Hawke's Bay All Black Israel Dagg, who will start on the right wing, are members of the Hawke's Bay-based Quackers Anonymous group.

Dagg gave the group worldwide exposure with his quirky try celebrations during last year's World Cup.

An eight-test All Black, Guildford will be making his first starting XV appearance of the season in the third-round Super Rugby fixture. He's champing at the bit.

"It's bloody exciting to be coming home to McLean Park," Guildford said.

The Napier Boys' High School product was confident he would pass a final fitness test yesterday on a slight hamstring strain collected in last Saturday night's loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

"I was happy to get on the track [Guildford came on as a second-half replacement against the Highlanders] but I wasn't happy with the result," he said.

He is anticipating a tough encounter against the Chiefs.

"They have a new-look coaching panel which is working well and they've added some classy players to their roster," Guildford said.

He agreed the Crusaders' tweaked back three of Dagg and himself on the wings and Sean Maitland at fullback has the potential to provide plenty of excitement.

Guildford, 23, has heard talk tonight's match could be the last on McLean Park for Magpies and Chiefs prop Sona Taumalolo, who is likely to be playing overseas after the Super Rugby season ends.

"Sona has been a great servant for the Magpies but we will still be looking to spoil his party," Guildford said of tonight's match.

Fellow Ngati Kahungunu Sportsperson of the Year winner Dagg, 23, hadn't thought about any new try celebrations when he spoke to Hawke's Bay Today on Wednesday but wouldn't rule out the chance of a "few surprises".

Dagg is eager to return to what he described as his "McLean Park Park fortress".

He missed the corresponding game last year, which the Crusaders won 25-19, with his quad injury. He trained on McLean Park more than he played on it last year as he trained for the Magpies in the buildup to their ITM Cup games against Wellington, which he didn't play in, and the away game against Bay of Plenty.

He left training early on Wednesday with a headache but recovered later in the day.

"Once I had been home for a nana nap I was fine again," Dagg quipped. Like Guildford, Dagg, is buzzing about the Crusaders' potentially lethal back three.

He pointed out Maitland was the fastest of the three of them.

"Sean has a long stride like a giraffe," Lindisfarne College product Dagg said.

"We just need to get the ball ... we didn't get enough of it in our loss to the Highlanders," he said.

His Crusaders outfit will also have to patch up some leaky defence that the Highlanders exposed.

With the Chiefs' classy backs, fullback Robbie Robinson, winger Tim Nanai-Williams, second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams and halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow all dangerous in last week's win against the Blues, the Crusaders won't want a repeat of those lapses.

The Chiefs' line-up includes six 2011 Magpies in No8 Kane Thompson, lock Brodie Retallick, props Ben Tameifuna and Sona Taumalolo, substitute hooker Hika Elliot and substitute inside back Andrew Horrell.

Canterbury-raised Horrell, 23, is keen to continue his rivalry with former Canterbury age group teammates and the likes of Dagg and Guildford should he get game time. He played the last 30 minutes of the win against the Blues.

"It was good to watch the first half and I didn't have to do much when I got on but it was awesome to get my first jersey," Horrell said.

Because of the wet conditions, Horrell said the pace wasn't that much faster than he experienced in ITM Cup play.

He said he had learned heaps off the Chiefs' assistant coach, former All Blacks assistant coach and former Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union chief executive Wayne Smith.

"Wayne has brought a lot to the team and he has been beneficial for me ... he is a good man."

Horrell said he was impressed with the Chiefs environment.

"I can only say good words about it," he said. Needless to say he'll be even happier if the Chiefs do the business tonight. Chiefs or Crusaders ... it doesn't matter as Hawke's Bay wins either way.

By last night 11,500 tickets had sold for the game. Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union's commercial manager, Jay Campbell, urged Bay fans to pack the park which, because of extra seating, will be able to accommodate a capacity crowd of 20,000.

Anything above the 16,000 mark will prove to Crusaders officials it was a wise move to give Napier another of their "home" games.

 

THE TEAMS

 

 

 

 

CRUSADERS: Sean Maitland; Israel Dagg, Robbie Fruean, Zac Guildford; Adam Whitelock, Tyler Bleyendaal; Andy Ellis; Kieran Read (captain); Matt Todd, Tom Donnelly, Luke Romano, George Whitelock; Owen Franks, Corey

Flynn, Ben Franks.

Substitutes, forwards: Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Sam Whitelock, Luke Whitelock; backs, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Tom Marshall.

CHIEFS: Robbie Robinson; Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Richard Kahui, Tim Nanai-Williams; Sonny Bill Williams, Aaron Cruden; Tawera Kerr-Barlow; Kane Thompson; Tanerau Latimer, Brodie

Retallick, Craig Clarke (co-captain), Liam Messam (co- captain); Ben Tameifuna, Mo Schwalger, Sona Taumalolo.

Substitutes, forwards: Hika Elliot, Shane Cleaver, Mike Fitzgerald, Sam Cane; Augustine Pulu, Andrew Horrell, Jackson Willison.

PATH TO McLEAN PARK

Crusaders: R1 b Blues 19-18, R2 lost to Highlanders 27-24.

Chiefs: R1 lost to Highlanders 23-19, R2 beat Blues 29-14.

 

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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