Piri Weepu prospect a distraction for Hurricanes

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 02/05/2012
Piri Weepu
Photosport
RETURN? Piri Weepu's chances of returning to the Hurricanes may have firmed this week – but don't expect to hear anyone say it out loud.

Relevant offers

Opinion

Snook: Taranaki's man from Gore a class act Reason: Man mountain Matfield still one of best Mehrtens: Beware of Boks as World Cup looms McCaw up off floor and to the fore once again Wilson: Boks picked on merit, not quotas Snook: Give Barrett a chance or risk losing him Mehrtens: Refs a blight on international game Blundering referees applying heat to IRB Wilson: Can't afford to lose the valuable NPC Gifford: Why the All Blacks are just that good

OPINION: Piri Weepu's chances of returning to the Hurricanes may have firmed this week – but don't expect to hear anyone say it out loud.

The timing of Weepu's comments suggesting his desire to come "home" next season have been about as good as his preseason fitness regime.

It's been an unwelcome and uncomfortable distraction for Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett as he prepares his side for an important match against the Blues on Friday.

And the welcome mat hasn't exactly been unfurled at Weepu's feet this week.

Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni produced a deft sidestep; coach Mark Hammett made like a cat on a hot tin roof.

And understandably so.

It would be grossly unfair to TJ Perenara if his coach and franchise began talking about signing an All Black halfback at this point of the season.

Hammett confirmed a meeting with Weepu, but not what was said. It is understood, however, that it went reasonably well.

The whole thing has the awkward feel of an old flame trying to get back together with a partner who has moved on.

And in many ways the Hurricanes and Hammett have. The culture has changed drastically from years past. Weepu's fitness neglect post-World Cup would not wash with the 2012 squad or their captain, Conrad Smith.

Hammett must have some reservations, and probably some stipulations.

But he must also look professionally at the makeup of his squad next season. Rebuilding is the present mantra, but this Hurricanes squad will have greater ambitions next year.

Could Weepu be a mentor to Perenara, gradually passing the baton to the star in the making?

Does anyone believe the Hurricanes would not be stronger with both in the squad together?

Players as classy as Weepu do not grow on trees, not even in the sporting factory of Wainuiomata.

To shun him would be understandable considering the sideshow that's ensued since his arrival at the Blues.

If he had his time again, Weepu would probably never have left.

Don't be surprised if there are further discussions between Weepu and the franchise he has represented 84 times.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

What would you rate as a fair price for a mediocre seat at the Rugby World Cup final next year?

$1000

$750

$500

$250

$200

$150

$100

$50

$25

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content