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a Tribute to Josh Kronfeld
a Tribute to Josh Kronfeld
(The King is dead, but who shall wear his crown?)
Josh Kronfeld has played his last game on New Zealand soil. (Otago vs. Auckland - thumping.) Wasn't the just the way he would have wanted to go out?

Auckland weren't in the party mood. Well I should say they wanted to party, but in their own way.

So Josh limped off the field, with a dejected look on his face and got to watch the rest of his "benefit" match from the sideline.

Josh's Kronfeld was a fantastic loose forward. I say was because he hasn't been on top form this year. Oh he was still good enough to get numerous turnovers against Canterbury, but he wasn't making it to the breakdowns quite as fast.

But lets face it, Josh's ability to turn over the ball is legendary. That's something that was really his own. He arrived in the shadow of Michael Jones, who was so fast to the breakdown that he forced a turnover - when he wasn't incorrectly pinged for off-side.

So getting there fast was just what was expected of Josh. But tackling and grabbing the ball off the ground, that was what he made look easy. Most everyone else would get caught, or were blown off the ruck, but not Josh! He was in and out before the ruck was formed.

It's almost as if the new tackle ball laws were tidied up especially for him!

I mentioned Michael Jones before, but I can't remember whether they were 1st string All Blacks together.

Aside: I had a short 45 minute surf and I find that the NZRFU don't consider the Jones boy worthy of Legend status, as there is no bio on him. Still I did get to see a very nice "bad hair day" picture of Zinzan Brooke - really made my evening!-)

The NZRFU's opinion aside, Jones was a freak (to use Keith Quinn's words). He seemed able to find the ball at all times, very useful for a loose forward. So you had to be pretty special to fill his shoes.

Josh Kronfeld put his hand up and said, "Ah, actually I brought my own shoes, thanks!"

Q: Is there such a star to take Josh's place?

A: Doesn't "really" look like it at the moment.

The obvious choice is the very person who Josh mentioned to CHCH More FM this week: Scott Robertson.

I admit that I like Robertson, but I think that he has looked a bit underdone this year as an AB. Maybe he just needs this European tour to really get his confidence set in stone.

He seemed to hang back a bit sometimes, almost as if he is expecting someone to sub him off at any moment, or his mum to wake him up from a dream!

Thinking about Robertson's performance in the Canterbury / Taranaki NPC semi, I came to the conclusion that again, there is something different about the way he plays.

Sure he is fast to the covering tackle and he manages a few turnovers, but what he is really good at is "body on the line" support play.

Remember Gibbos 3rd try against the Naki (at the Bull Ring)? He was driven over the line by Robertson!. That's the "new" thing that Robertson excels at.

However perhaps I have "Josh-lag" and Robertson will look so much better in just a few months time.

Finally a comment about Josh and his best mate Jeff Wilson. What a contrast of years for the two.

You would have thought that Wilson had "lost it" a bit to opt out for the rest of the year. Even if you felt jaded, it was still be better to be playing.

But even if Josh played superbly for the whole of the NPC, he was part of a very ordinary Otago team. Gee that must have been... just a bundle of laughs!

How many times this season has Jeff Wilson been glad not to "have" to be the spark that ignites the Otago team?


Let us know what you think!

Josh was a legend all right, one of those players that you admire even when he is playing for the opposition. We feel sorry for him that he wasn't able to win a World Cup in his time at the top but he has given us a wealth of great Rugby memories and will be sadly missed by Rugby fans everywhere.

Cheers from the Rugbyheads Josh and good luck for the future, you're a legend mate!

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