McCaw to the rescue
June 16, 2011
A DC3 will take the Crusaders to Wellington for their 'home' tie against the Hurricanes © Getty Images
Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw may be missing from their crunch Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes on Saturday but he has played a key role in getting his side to the nation's capital as the volcanic ash cloud continues to play havoc with New Zealand's airports.
The Canterbury-based franchise have experienced a season of upheaval following the Christchurch earthquake in February that killed at least 181 people and forced them to vacate their AMI Stadium home. Further disruption has come in the form of the headline-grabbing ash cloud, from an erupting volcano in Chile, that has been slowly spreading across the country.
As a result of the travel chaos, the Crusaders were contemplating taking a ferry and a bus to Wellington before McCaw came to the rescue. A keen pilot, and patron of the Southern DC3 Trust, made some enquiries and secured the use of one of the historic aircraft which can carry 28 passengers.
"Nothing ceases to amaze this year," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said. "Captain Richie McCaw came through for us with his ties with the DC3 Trust. It may take a little longer but it's a better alternative then the bus and ferry. It's another good chapter in a very interesting season."
The Hurricanes are experiencing their own upheaval but on a personnel basis. All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore are not having their contracts renewed at the end of the season but Blackadder would not be drawn on the fallout from a high-profile re-structuring in the nation's capital. "I don't care about that to be honest," Blackadder said. "It's all about us making sure that we turn up ready to perform. I know they've got a lot going on in their [Hurricanes] camp but that's not our concern. We've got a win we want to get our hands on and we want to put on a good performance and get our season back on track.
"While we've been playing well and winning there have been some not very good performances where we haven't really met the targets and performance standards that we're used to setting. We need to be more clinical and accurate. I think it is more of a mind-set for the players, more about making better decisions when we're on attack. We're working hard then releasing a lot of pressure. We need to make sure we can hold onto the ball for longer periods and ask more questions of the defence."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin