Crosswell itching to get a run

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 09/07/2013
Crosswell
DAVID UNWIN/ Fairfax NZ
YELLOWS LOYALIST: Nick Crosswell is happy to drive from Hamilton to play for Feilding when he is not required by the Chiefs.

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Nick Crosswell's quiet life with the Chiefs might be good news for the Manawatu Turbos.

If last season's Manawatu captain continues to be left out of the Chiefs' match day 22, he should come back fresh for his domestic rugby.

Last season many of the Chiefs' players were exhausted after their long exertions through the playoffs en route to winning the Super Rugby title.

Crosswell has appeared in seven of the Chiefs' 15 matches this year, started only two and hasn't started for them since their clash with the Sharks at Hamilton on April 27. His last appearance was as a substitute against the Hurricanes on May 17.

It didn't help that he injured elbow ligaments in that game and that put him out for two weeks. He went to make a tackle, Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick tackled the same player and the collision hyper-extended Crosswell's elbow.

So on Saturday Crosswell drove back to play his fourth game of the season for Feilding.

"I'm always keen to come down and play," he said. "It's a win-win for me.

"I can play up in Hamilton, but I would rather come back and play for a team that means something to me."

He has noticed Feilding is shaping into a useful side.

"There is a good core of players and a good feeling there if they can stick together for a year or two."

He played for them in the wet at Rongotea on Saturday. He described it as "the worst field I have ever played on".

At the Chiefs, where the forwards coach is Tom Coventry, Matt Vant Leven has become the favoured No 8. And on Friday at Christchurch, 34-year-old former All Black lock Ross Filipo, who hadn't played for three months, was brought in to the blindside flank to replace Liam Messam after he injured himself at the gym.

"I don't know if I will get back in this year," Crosswell said.

"I would be a liar to say I wasn't disappointed and frustrated."

He made the move from the Highlanders to the Chiefs in anticipation of getting more rugby as a loose forward.

"I would rather play in a losing team than not play in a winning team," he said.

He is itching to get game time and two training games during the international window, 40 minutes each against Counties-Manukau and Bay of Plenty, hardly cut it.

The Chiefs have given him things to work on.

Much of the strength and conditioning work he is doing at Hamilton will benefit him for the Manawatu season. Either way he will be ready, also for the Chiefs, if they look his way.

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Crosswell has another year to go on his Chiefs contract. But at 27 he is not getting any younger and he is playing for his third franchise.

He had a chat with the Turbos coaches on Friday. He won't be able to join them when they assemble fulltime on July 18 because the Chiefs' campaign could last until August 3. His feeling is that on paper the Turbos look stronger than last year's squad.

- Manawatu Standard

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