Cruden deserves a start in next Ireland test match

04:36, Jun 18 2012
Aaron Cruden
GIVE HIM A CHANCE: Aaron Cruden deserves a start in the All Blacks No10 jersey.

Let's call for Manawatu's Aaron Cruden to start the third rugby test against Ireland at Hamilton next Saturday.

All he did at Christchurch on Saturday was sit on the sidelines and freeze, while Hamilton is his new home ground with the Chiefs.

Cruden can't let Aaron Smith get all the plaudits, even if Smith was again outstanding. The pair know each other's game intimately so there would be little risk involved.

Daniel Carter has done great service by New Zealand but Cruden has been playing as well as he is and is a better drop-kick sniper. We'll long remember the pot he got on the run at Wellington last year for the Turbos.

Manawatu could have nine athletes at the London Olympics.

The tally has risen with professional football player Anna Green seemingly a certainty to be in the New Zealand women's team.


And now Jets basketballer Marcel Jones, since he became a New Zealander last Thursday, could also be there should he be picked for the Tall Blacks.

Manawatu's others are already on the Olympics roster.

There's triathlete Kris Gemmell, hockey players Nick Wilson, Kayla Sharland, Emily Naylor and Melody Cooper and cyclists Jesse Sergent and Simon van Velthooven.

If club rugby is to be played at our cavernous FMG Stadium, then the whole operation could do with a lift.

There is only a tiddler green scoreboard but it is nigh invisible against the green seating.

A few years back there was a ground announcer blurting out the scorers and there were ballboys, which surely the clubs could supply.

Spotted crossing the codes were a stack of rugby players appearing for rugby league sides on Saturday.

The most prominent was prop Gene Ropoama who trialled for the Turbos last Wednesday and played for the Dannevirke Tigers rugby league team.

And playing for the Foxton Rebels were his Feilding Old Boys-Oroua rugby clubmates, Richie Graham and Valu Laumape, whose team had the bye, both of them Feilding Falcons leaguies last year.

There will be Central and Manawatu connections in the Black Sticks women's hockey team headed for the London Olympics.

Physiotherapist Fiona O'Connor is from Palmerston North, where she operates Churchyard Physiotherapy. Assistant coach Chris Leslie is a former coach of the Manawatu Emeralds and the other assistant, South African Greg Nicol, has coached the Manawatu-dominated Central women's team.

And coach Mark Hager, who is understood to have been mentored by rugby's Graham Henry, well, he has been to Palmerston North a few times.

The Palmerston North Bowling Club, of all places, keeps tweeting our sports reporter George Heagney.

Yes, the bowlers have cottoned on to social media site Twitter, bucking the sport's stereotype.

Apparently the issue du jour at Linton St, where they report they have had icicles on their windows, is whether Lance Armstrong will be sprung on doping charges.

And this succinct tweet on Saturday night: "You beauty Aaron Smith".

Manawatu Standard