Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Dear John...

Results have been poor at Sir John Kirwan's Blues and production has been erratic. Photo / Getty
Results have been poor at Sir John Kirwan's Blues and production has been erratic. Photo / Getty

My admiration for John Kirwan remains.

His rise from butcher boy to All Black demigod was the stuff of legend as were his battles with depression and his very public campaigns to help others with a similar affliction.

He is quirky and spirited, generous with his time and open to ideas. There is a generous freshness about Kirwan which some of the Herald staff discovered when he came in to edit the paper this year.

JK exudes passion. There is a raw enthusiasm about his style and a lively edge to some of his ideas about fashion, food and family.

All those components hold my respect and have done through all sorts of episodes since our paths first intersected in the 80's.

However life has a number of compartments and at the moment, that admiration does not spread to the footy JK and the Blues are bringing to the Super 15 landscape right now.

Results have been poor, production has been erratic, the Benji Marshall concept was strange from its inception and the team's style is exasperating.

It makes you want to shout at the telly or if security allowed, get onto the field and plonk the ball down in a Blues huddle like Alex Wyllie memorably did as Canterbury were getting pasted in a Shield defence against Auckland, and urge the Blues to hang onto the pill and express themselves.

The Blues have struggled in lineouts, scrums remain a game of Cluedo and they hoof the ball away like it has some sort of disease.

JK wants the Blues to embody the vibrant buzz he gets from the City of Sails so he should give his side carte blanche against the Waratahs because the other ideas have not worked.

He's not coaching to retain his job next year, the NZRU has already approved that extension, but he is charge of a side which needs to plug into the city's blood supply. Win or lose we need to see that passion and feel the fury.

Perhaps it will change tomorrow and the Blues will show some appropriate Anzac fight which will stir us towards the gusto which was brimful at the start of the season.

- NZ Herald

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