New Hurricanes coach faces a player exodus

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:03 13/04/2014
Mark Hammett
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
MOVING ON: Mark Hammett announcing he will leave the Hurricanes at the end of this season.

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Chiefs have just six vacancies left on roster Thorn and Bekhuis not returning for Highlanders Damian McKenzie signs three-year Chiefs deal Police oppose Tevita Li application on charge Hosea Gear returning home to New Zealand Crusaders seek 'Big Beast' in backline as target Kaplan: Joubert wrong to penalise Richie McCaw Nemani Nadolo to stay at Crusaders until 2016 Crusaders snapped on a big game joyride Coach Todd Blackadder's job at Crusaders safe

Whoever replaces Mark Hammett as Hurricanes coach next year is already facing an increasing player exodus.

New Zealand's most prominent openside flanker this season, Jack Lam, has already confirmed a move to English club Bristol at the end of the season. Fellow Samoan international Alapati Leiua has also inked a deal with Wasps.

Fairfax Media understands injured second five-eighth Tim Bateman is close to agreeing terms for a second stint in Japan. And in a move that would also be a blow to Taranaki, in-form fullback Andre Taylor is likely to follow suit. Blindside flanker Faifili Levave has also fielded interest from Japanese clubs.

Taylor, 26, has made a major impact since being recalled in recent weeks. His pace and attacking instincts from the back has been the critical spark the Canes' back-three were missing in the early rounds.

Recruitment will be a top priority for the next Canes coach. All Blacks apprentice Ardie Savea is primed to cover Lam's pending departure, but readymade replacements for Bateman, Leiua and Taylor are not obvious, though there is depth in the loose-forwards should Levave decide to go.

This year the Canes have struggled at second-five. Only when Bateman and Leiua have filled the role - once each - has the backline displayed any consistent cohesion.

Fullback has also been problematic. Tasman first-five Marty Banks was initially favoured there but the position did not suit his skill-set.

The next Canes coach could be forced to scout far and wide to cover these crucial roles and, depending on how swiftly an appointment is made, may have little time to do it. 

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

What did you make of the 2014 Super Rugby season?

It was a cracker and the best team won the title.

The Crusaders were robbed in the final.

It was a bit of a snorefest and the Kiwi teams largely disappointed.

Super Rugby? Please, bring on the NPC.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content