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By Lee Stace

WHO DO the Hurricanes think they are kidding when they say the beleaguered Wellington-based franchise won’t be a laughing stock next year?

Sorry, but that is exactly what the team has become after yet another high-profile player decided to take his talents elsewhere for the 2012 season.

Since Andrew Hore and Ma’a Nonu were given the ‘don’t come Monday’ by Mark Hammett following a messy relationship breakdown between senior players and the coach, things have spiralled out of control in the capital.

Aaron Cruden has decided to head to the Chiefs to team up with his long-time provincial mentor Dave Rennie and Piri Weepu confirmed last weekend he will join Nonu at the Blues next season.

Hosea Gear looks like he will head to the Edinburgh of the South and link with the Highlanders, who earlier this week signed Hore on a one-year deal, while Cory Jane is believed to be weighing up overseas offers.

Did I mention that Neemia Tialata, John Schwalger and Anthony Perenise announced mid-season that they had signed lucrative deals to play overseas?

So after inheriting a team with more talent than you can shake a stick at, Hammett now faces the possibility of fielding just one current All Black – Conrad Smith – and the weakest side since the Hurricanes kicked off the inaugural Super Rugby competition against the Blues in Palmerston North in 1996.

Whether you agree with his methods or not, Hammett is the boss and calls the shots. He decides who he wants on his roster and who he doesn’t.

However, it’s fair to say he has clearly underestimated the ripple effect following his shock decision to show long-serving veterans Hore and Nonu the door.

That ultimately played a part in Weepu’s decision to head north and was probably a factor in Cruden’s move as well.

It’s interesting to note that Weepu has only signed a one-year deal with the Blues. Maybe he is hoping Hammett will get turfed when 2012 runs its course.

Whatever the case, next year does not bode too well for the Hurricanes, who are likely to battle it out with the Melbourne Rebels and Lions to avoid the wooden spoon. Although 21 players have already been signed and there is plenty of excitement in the air, they are lacking crucial depth and experience at hooker, prop, halfback and first five to be serious title contenders.

I can already hear the laughter – and the man in the middle hasn’t even signalled the kickoff for the Super Rugby season yet!

Posted Comments

Rich
Interesting to see these comments post 2012 season. Who is the laughing stock now? I thought at the time this was written, like many people, that the blogster might be right, but I hoped that it wouldn't. And I still went to the home games to support the boys. Can I hear hats being eaten?...
SAD
Hammett has gotten rid of the key players for The Hurricanes, blaming them for all the problems, to detract from the real problem. He doesn't know how to coach a top class team. Hammett go back to the South Island where, possibly, you still have people that believe in you, and maybe even (choke) like you!
Madge
Ho ho, who woluda thunk it, right?
dodger
as supporters within this region hurricanes frachise should tell us the truth about what has been going on. why the hell would all our all blacks bugger off.the whole set up must have been slack because the canes should have won a title over the years with the wealth of talent theyve had. the crusaders are the only credible nz team in the comp.super rugby sucks, who cares about players from other regions, go the welly lions and go the ABs thats all that matters!!!!
Bazza
The Hurricanes board have a lot to answer for. They passed over 2 of the best coaches in NZ in Joseph and Rennie. Im a manawatu/Hawkes Bay supporter and they have done nothing for us, We used to go to Wellington to watch a lot of the games but will never be going back. Next season im going to be a Chiefs supporter,i never thought i would see that day.
Dave Mitchell
Hammet inherited the Canes , it is now obvious a Coach that had a gustfull of ill disciplined players.The previous Coach moved on to where respect would be given by the players. For all who blame Hammet shows the stupidity of many individuals who are very biased for anyone to clean out the dead wood for fresh faces. The Canes will bounce back if given the chance, so all those who criticised Hammet l should look hard at themselves in the mirror to see how stupid they have been as they are also a big problem. Move forward not backwards
Vixy
What a joke! Our family have supported the Hurricanes since the beginning. I hope Corey leaves too and then maybe they'll get rid of Hopeless Hammett! He has destroyed our Hurricanes Family and the Rugby Union needs to get real. They look just as much a joke as Hammett is! Clean your mess up.
Ramage
Hammett is on borrowed time. He isnt up to it and should be sacked immediately. What outfit has he ever been Head Coach of. Well the Hurricanes Board put him there and they are responsible for this duffus. They should resign en masse. Remember this Hammett coached team not only lost to the last placed team The Rabbles they were thrashed. Hammett is the biggest joke in NZ rugby.
Peter
Why didnt the NZRU pull Hammett into line .NZ needs the flare of the Hurricane's game as it is the diversity of different regional styles that makes NZ rugby what it is Hammett should take off to South Africa and coach 10 man rugby with Peter De Villiers
GoTahs
Interesting when the Western Force was mentioned Oz should only have 4 sides in Super Rugby. Hurricanes ... how many NZ sides??
Stephen Yetman
As a Hurricanes season ticket holder I’m more sad and disappointed than laughing about 2012. It could get worse if Gear and Jane leave. I’m not ready to give up on them as there are talented players like Barrett, Savea, Taylor and Perenara but they will miss the experienced professionals that have left. I’m looking forward to seeing how this talent develops but one of the big issues will be lack of depth in key positions. It looks like Hammett is trying to install Crusader like discipline. There is one big difference though the Crusaders have retained their stars.
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