Going into the unknown worry for Corey Flynn
Corey Flynn has suddenly got a phobia about empty cardboard boxes.
The 33-year-old might be about to grapple with one of the world's best hookers in Bismarck du Plessis tonight, and for the first time will represent the Crusaders knowing there is no chance of wearing the All Blacks jersey again, but it's the thought of getting everything done before he shifts his family to France that scares him most.
"It's the going into the unknown - I have had panic attacks about packing all the stuff I will need before I leave and we're still trying to win a competition," Flynn says. "Having a checklist helps."
Before the Crusaders travelled to Brisbane last week Flynn contacted All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to say he had signed a two-year deal with Toulouse and leaves after the Super Rugby season.
Flynn, despite being ignored by Hansen since he took over from Graham Henry in 2012, maintains there was no bitterness from either party. Both had reasons to be cranky: Flynn, who made the last of his 15 test appearances at the 2011 World Cup, probably feels he deserved another shot at the big time but never got the chance.
And losing Flynn means Hansen now has real issues if veteran hooker Keven Mealamu or Dane Coles suffer serious injuries ahead of next year's World Cup. While acknowledging it was "frustrating" to be ignored, Flynn denied it was the reason for leaving.
"That didn't come into it. I have loved my time in New Zealand and it was just time to go. Money was a factor but not the whole factor.
"It's widely known New Zealand rugby can't compete with the money overseas but it was the right time; the kids are at a great age and probably if I waited a couple of years I would have been pushed out the door here and had nothing overseas. I had to take the opportunity while I was there.
"He [Hansen] was disappointed to see me going but wished me all the best and said ‘thanks for the heads up'."
Since turning professional in 2002 Flynn has required operations to fix broken bones in both arms, torn leg ligaments and muscles and nursed neck complaints. He has played in two World Cups, been ignored for another (2007) and was unable to force his way past Andrew Hore or Mealamu into a regular starting spot for his country.
Deciding to leave for France, he says, was tougher to deal with than all of those dramas bundled together.
"I would say it was the hardest decision I have made in my career. Especially being part of the furniture here [at the Crusaders] for so long. I have said to people it was harder than injuries and non-selection combined.
"Dealing with that, you go through a huge range of emotions. But I'm very sure I have made the right decision."
- The Press
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