All Blacks win special for Crotty family

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 08:17 26/11/2013
Ryan Crotty
Getty Images
GAME BREAKER: All Blacks replacement and Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty celebrates his match-levelling try against Ireland in Dublin.

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Like the rest of the country, Steve and Robyn Crotty were proud Kiwis yesterday morning when the All Blacks came from behind to beat Ireland but their admiration and pride went further than anyone else's.

As the parents of current All Black, and yesterday's match-winning try-scorer, Ryan, the Christchurch-based Crotty family were understandably over the moon.

"We are a very proud family today," Steve Crotty said.

"Things got a little bit loud there when Ryan scored. The neighbours probably wondered what was going on, but it was a pretty special moment."

The last-minute try by Crotty - who went to Shirley Boys' High - ensured the All Blacks became the first team in international rugby history to complete a calendar year unbeaten - a feat that looked set to be undone before the try, and Aaron Cruden's conversion to steal the match 24-22.

After a stellar campaign with the Crusaders, Crotty caught the attention of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and made his debut off the bench against Australia in Sydney, but the story could have been a lot different.

Two years ago, lucrative offers were being floated for a possible tenure in Japan, and the temptation to go was strong.

"I think, from memory, it was going to be for 10 years at about $500,000 a year which would mean he could come home a millionaire. We had a good talk about that.

"But Ryan was definite in that he had a goal, and he was determined to achieve it."

Although he hadn't spoken to his son, Crotty had sent a message to him via Facebook, while Robyn had received a text message which simply said the 25-year-old was "stoked".

"I'll catch up with him at some stage I'm sure - he's staying on over there for a week or so yet to do some promotional stuff and to go to the sevens."

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