"We're not getting time to coach." That's the alarming refrain from a growing number of NPC coaches who say their quest to develop the next tier of New Zealand rugby talent is being undermined by the condensed format of the national domestic competition.
Short turnarounds between games are restricting coaches' abilities to develop young players who need technical guidance, advice and time to hone their skills at a pivotal point in their careers.
Facing scenarios such as three games in eight days, coaches say they are being turned into "recovery managers", rather than being able to use normal time frames to review performances, impart knowledge and get the best out of players.
Ultimately, these constraints threaten to affect New Zealand's emerging talent and the long-term ramifications could be far-reaching.
“It is a very valid point. I respect that view immensely,” Canterbury chief executive Hamish Riach said. “The preparation and ongoing coaching has to be compromised with this current structure.”
Taranaki coach Colin Cooper and Waikato coach Chris Gibbes this past week voiced their concerns and it appears they are not alone.
Auckland boss Andy Dalton has had similar feedback from head coach Wayne Pivac who won three NPC titles from 1999-2003.
“Wayne would say he doesn't have enough time with the short turnarounds to do anything productive with the players.
“If it's a truly development competition, I know he would prefer to have the guys playing with a six-day turnaround, as would normally be the case.”
- Sunday Star Times
Will Counties Manukau defend the Ranfurly Shield all season?