Wynne Gray 's Opinion

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Good one, Blues - now JK knows what he faces

Sir John Kirwan talks about his new job as the coach of the Blues. Photo / Greg Bowker.
Sir John Kirwan talks about his new job as the coach of the Blues. Photo / Greg Bowker.

At least the Blues are consistent. After a season of underwhelming mediocrity, the franchise maintained that pattern with their latest player recruitment.

On a day when their last All Black, Benson Stanley, quietly shot through to the Clermont club in Europe, the Blues were touting their latest recruit.

With a drum roll, trumpet blast and crash of cymbals, Chris Noakes was revealed as a signing for next year.

The five-eighths has left the Highlanders and secured a deal with the Blues once he finishes ITM Cup duty for Bay of Plenty.

You can imagine John Kirwan doing cartwheels at his Italian base - perhaps as a way of releasing some stress about his employers' latest decision.

Whoop dee do. The Blues now have a five-eighths armory of Gareth Anscombe and Michael Hobbs supplemented by Noakes.

So much for building a top-drawer roster from within the franchise borders or scouring serious talent from elsewhere.

Well done to Noakes and his management for stitching up a deal, but what were the Blues thinking?

It shows what Kirwan is up against.

He will be left with players of modest calibre who have time left on their contracts.

That sort of overlap is one of the hazards for any new coach.

But when the Blues go out and sign more of the same. Sheeesh!

You wonder what other hazards Kirwan faces, although those perils have been apparent for some time at the Blues.

They are an old boys' club constrained by yesteryear thinking in a changing sporting world, an organisation unable to look past the blazer badge mentality of previous generations.

They have been as lively as sludge, as innovative as analogue television, as connected to their audience as fingers in a light socket.

The Blues need someone with the gumption and vision of Kerry Packer's rebel World Series cricket to move the franchise on.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

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