Why Taranaki shouldn't join the Chiefs
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If you are from Taranaki, do you believe that your team should head to Mooloo country and join the Chiefs? This is the question I ask to all who are passionate about rugby in amber and black country.
I am a diehard Hurricanes fan and am disgruntled to hear of the realistic departure to the Chiefs of Taranaki Rugby.
Taranaki Rugby complained about not getting a good deal.
In the past the 'Canes have given the wonderful city of New Plymouth some good matches.
Sure they may have been against the likes of the Sharks (2012), Cheetahs (2010) and Force (2006) but nothing beats seeing your local heroes up close.
What really grinds my gears is the fact that Taranaki Rugby is simply brushing aside their loyal 16-year relationship with the 'Canes because Wellington Rugby own a 50 per cent stake in the 'Canes.
The new deal under the Chiefs will see two matches a year held in New Plymouth.
This is selfish because Tauranga, Pukekohe and Rotorua are in the Chiefs franchise area and have traditionally held home matches in the past.
This kicks these centres, which have produced homegrown Chiefs players such as Bundee Aki from Counties Manukau, Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer and Liam Messam (originally from Rotorua), in the guts.
I understand that this is professional sport and the Chiefs pick other players from across NZ, such as Aaron Cruden. But it really doesn't make sense because Taranaki has given so much to the Hurricanes.
The Chiefs have one Taranaki representative in Rhys Marshall compared to seven Taranaki representatives in the Hurricanes.
Here is a list of former and current Hurricanes from Taranaki or who have played for Taranaki at provincial level:
Paul Tito, Beauden Barrett, Conrad Smith, Chris Smylie, Laurence Corlett, Jayden Hayward (currently at the Force), Scott Waldrom, James Marshall, Andre Taylor, Scott Waldrom, Tony Penn, David Smith, Andrew Hore, Michael Bent, Lifeimei Mafi, Craig Clarke (played a season for the 'Canes in 2010) and of course the legends: Bull Allen and Gordon Slater.
History cannot be ignored.
Taranaki have contributed to the 'Canes and history has shown and continues to show, that Waikato and Taranaki have no love for each other at provincial level.
Who could forget when Waikato won 41 - 10 just last year at New Plymouth to take the shield to the Tron? Paints a sad picture when Taranaki Rugby is ignoring loyalty just to join up with their arch rivals and grab a few extra dollars and cents.
Would the Chiefs be supported in Taranaki? I think not.
I believe that the Chiefs will get pitiful crowds. Has Neil Pennington, CEO of Taranaki Rugby, asked the wider Taranaki public about whether Taranaki should align with the Chiefs? I think not.
There will be many angry people in the towns of Pungarehu, Rahotu, Opunake and all around the coast.
I hope that if the Chiefs take on the 'Canes at Yarrow Stadium in 2014, the might of the black and yellow supporters are out in full force to support their team: their real home team.
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