Wellington’s Chris Boyd has joined the chorus of provincial rugby coaches lamenting the lack of time to work with their players during the condensed national championship format.
The Lions are the latest side to be thrust into the tough block of playing three games in eight days.
They have to bounce back from last Saturday’s hammering by Auckland to play Bay of Plenty in Mt Maunganui tonight before hosting North Harbour in the capital on Saturday.
Taranaki’s Colin Cooper opened a can of worms last week when he declared: “We’re not getting time to coach.”
Waikato’s Chris Gibbes backed that up and leading provincial administrators Andy Dalton (Auckland) and Hamish Riach (Canterbury) also bemoaned the lack of detail their coaches were able to impart because of the congested nature of the competition.
Boyd added similar sentiments as the Lions rolled their sleeves up in the midst of a tough week.
But Boyd isn’t just worried about his own side. Like Cooper, he fears the development of young talent – the biggest attribute of the NPC - is being compromised.
“The biggest problem really is that you don’t get enough time to remedially coach the guys,” Gibbes said.
“When you consider the ITM Cup is a competition full of babies… young rugby players… the ability to be able to coach and remedially learn and stuff like that is really important for their development.
“You don’t get much time to sort of digest the lessons you learn from one game to another, which is a bit of a shame really.”
Wellington couldn’t attend the aftermatch function at Eden Park as they had to get on a bus to Tauranga.
They spent Sunday reviewing the loss and previewing the Steamers game.
They had a captain’s run yesterday and pull on their game jerseys again tonight for a match they need to win to consolidate their playoffs chances.
Auckland have taken over at the top of the table having just negotiated their own three-game, eight-day block with a loss against Bay of Plenty and wins against Taranaki and Waikato.
Auckland captain Hadleigh Parkes said it was a case of gutsing out the physical demands and the key was more about getting things right up top.
“It’s all just mental… attitude. We came into both those (Taranaki and Wellington) games determined to get up,” he said.
Wellington captain Jeremy Thrush promised something similar tonight after stewing over the Auckland loss.
“We will have the right attitude to turn up to play the Bay of Plenty, you can guarantee that.”