Lions coach Boyd says no to Crusaders job

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 23/10/2012
Chris Boyd
Photosport
CHRIS BOYD: "Counties first-up is certainly a lot harder than it would be [if it was] Counties last-up."

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Chris Boyd has ruled out joining the Crusaders' coaching staff next year, saying he is fully committed to coaching Wellington and the New Zealand under-20 team in 2013.

Boyd confirmed he had been approached by Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder after the departure of assistant Daryl Gibson and, while he felt suited to the role, he would not be accepting it.

"I've got two components to my working environment at the moment; one is a commitment to the Wellington Lions and one is a commitment to the NZ under-20s for 2013, and I'm pleased to be doing both of those and will be totally honouring those," Boyd said.

Boyd was reported on Sunday to be the frontrunner to fill an assistant's role in Christchurch, with former All Blacks and Crusaders Leon MacDonald and Aaron Mauger also in the mix. Boyd said he chatted with Blackadder and wished him all the best.

"I think they looked at the skill set they required and drew up a list of everyone they could think of and cast the net as wide as they could. The portfolio they're looking for certainly suits what I've done historically."

Boyd, who was an assistant to John Plumtree at the Sharks in South Africa, said a return to Super Rugby held some appeal in the future.

But, for now, Wellington was a good fit for his family and he was enjoying developing some of the region's young rugby talent.

And, with the All Blacks squad to tour Europe being named on Monday, Boyd said Lions hooker Dane Coles and prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen were both excellent candidates.

"I think Dane Coles has been, without doubt, the form hooker of the ITM Cup and if they're looking for another hooker for that tour I'd certainly be saying he's worthy of attention," Boyd said.

"[Toomaga-Allen] has been a colossus for us this year; he's just been outstanding. But they've got the two Franks [Ben and Owen], [Tony] Woodcock, [Charlie] Faumuina, [Wyatt] Crockett ... whether they take six props on that tour, I don't know. Certainly, in the tighthead prop space, I can't think of anybody who'd had the commanding season Jeff has had."

From the Lions national provincial championship squad, Coles appears the best bet of making the tour as third hooker, behind Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore, with Hika Elliot his closest competition.

Boyd said there were "four or five" Wellington players who were capable of playing at All Blacks level. Among those were centre/wing Alapati Leiua and lock Jeremy Thrush, who both had outstanding NPC campaigns.

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Coach Boyd marked Wellington's season as a marginal pass, giving them a "C" after a 33-22 semifinal exit to Auckland that was marred by critical late errors.

"A union like Wellington, if you don't make the semifinals that's a fail; if you get knocked out in the semifinals you get the arbitrary C; if you get into the final that's a B; and if you win the final it's an A . . . so that's disappointing."

- Wellington

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