Rugby: Hurricanes exact revenge on Phil Kearns after being labelled fat

TJ Perenara celebrates after the Hurricanes win their maiden Super Rugby title on Saturday in Wellington. Photo / Photosport
TJ Perenara celebrates after the Hurricanes win their maiden Super Rugby title on Saturday in Wellington. Photo / Photosport

New Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes have mocked Phil Kearns over his comments that they were fat, but the former Wallabies skipper couldn't care less.

Canes players took to social media to post memes and pictures of their ripped abdominal muscles after defeating South Africa's Lions 20-3 in the grand final to claim their maiden premiership, and clearly were motivated by Kearns' remarks on Fox Sports after the first game of the season.

In round one, the Canes were hammered 52-10 by the Brumbies, and in his post-match analysis, Kearns said "the Hurricanes look fat, slow and unfit".

Despite the backlash from the new champions, Kearns stuck to his guns on Sunday.

"The fact is they did look fat, slow and unfit, but they turned it around and by the end of the season they were the freshest team," Kearns said.

"Maybe the rest of the Super Rugby coaches will try that out from now on, because every other side looked fatigued towards the end of the year.

"But I'm glad the best team in the tournament won, and there is no doubt they were the best team."

Kearns also brushed off the social media swipes from Canes players including Jeff Toomaga-Allen and Pita Ahki.

In one Tweet, Ahki actually tagged Kearns in the post: "Fat and unfit they said? Champs" with a photo of Julian Savea's abs. The post was retweeted by a host of players including Savea, Cory Jane, James Marshall and Vince Aso.

"I've got no problem with it at all, I think it's funny," Kearns said.

"As long as they're having a laugh and I'm having a laugh, and they're not doing it in a hateful way, it's fine."

But Kearns did take issue with Canes skipper Dane Coles, who failed to acknowledge the Lions in his post-match acceptance speech on the field.

While Coles and the Hurricanes coaching staff praised the Lions in the press conference afterwards, the general public tuning into the final didn't hear it.

"This is the third time it has happened. Richie McCaw failed to mention the opposition in the past two World Cup finals, he didn't mention the French or the Australians, and now Dane Coles hasn't mentioned the South Africans," Kearns said.

"This is not to denigrate Dane Coles, but one of the first things Lions captain Warren Whiteley did was credit the Hurricanes, and it would have been nice of Coles to reciprocate that.

"I was lucky enough to go on long tours of New Zealand in the 1990s.

"As much as we hate to admit it, per capita they are one of the best sports nations in the world.

"And one of the things you do appreciate when you go to New Zealand is their great sportsmanship.

"When you play in their country towns, one of the things you admire them for is that at the after-match functions they would always recognise the vanquished. It is the norm for everyone.

"So for this to happen three times in recent history, they've missed the opportunity to show what a great sporting nation they are.

"I think it's a bit sad."


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