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Mourie is gone and the hunt is on!
Mourie is gone and the hunt is on!
(Cutting the Goss...)
Mourie is the Hurricanes coach no more - after 3 years of failure he has decided (or he has been pushed) to resign. Quite interesting really because I thought the Hurricanes Rugby Board were so useless and content with failure it would take at least two wooden spoons before they'd get off their arses and do something about the Caneing we're getting in the Super 12 year after year... but not so apparantly. Mourie is gone and the hunt is on! I can't say I feel sorry for Mourie - three years of 8th and 9th has been too painful for the region to say that, but you have to ask the question: was Mourie making the players bad, or were the players crap anyway and it was Mourie who prevented it from being even worse? Difficult to say, but whatever the truth is let's hope his replacement can do better with the franchise than he did. Here is his record with the Wellington Hurricanes. All three miserable years.

25 Feb 2000 Hurricanes bt Sharks 40 - 23
04 Mar 2000 Hurricanes bt Reds 43 - 25
11 Mar 2000 Hurricanes lost to Highlanders 35 - 19
18 Mar 2000 Hurricanes bt Chiefs 24 - 19
25 Mar 2000 Hurricanes bt Cats 29 - 23
31 Mar 2000 Hurricanes lost to Blues 25 - 14
07 Apr 2000 Hurricanes bt Crusaders 28 - 22
21 Apr 2000 Hurricanes lost to Brumbies 47 - 28
29 Apr 2000 Hurricanes bt Waratahs 27 - 20
07 May 2000 Hurricanes lost to Stormers 43 - 23
12 May 2000 Hurricanes lost to Bulls 47 - 33

24 Feb 2001 Hurricanes lost to Reds 27 - 18
03 Mar 2001 Hurricanes bt Bulls 26 - 20
09 Mar 2001 Hurricanes lost to Stormers 27 - 15
17 Mar 2001 Hurricanes lost to Sharks 39 - 21
23 Mar 2001 Hurricanes lost to Cats 18 - 15
31 Mar 2001 Hurricanes bt Crusaders 41 - 29
06 Apr 2001 Hurricanes bt Brumbies 34 - 19
14 Apr 2001 Hurricanes bt Highlanders 35 - 33
27 Apr 2001 Hurricanes bt Waratahs 42 - 17
04 May 2001 Hurricanes lost to Chiefs 51 - 27
11 May 2001 Hurricanes lost to Blues 36 - 17

22 Feb 2002 Hurricanes lost to Blues 60 - 7
02 Mar 2002 Hurricanes bt Bulls 37 - 18
08 Mar 2002 Hurricanes lost to Stormers 40 - 13
15 Mar 2002 Hurricanes bt Sharks 40 - 17
22 Mar 2002 Hurricanes bt Cats 30 - 21
30 Mar 2002 Hurricanes bt Reds 22 - 18
05 Apr 2002 Hurricanes lost to Highlanders 19 - 10
14 Apr 2002 Hurricanes bt Brumbies 20 - 13
27 Apr 2002 Hurricanes lost to Waratahs 19 - 13
04 May 2002 Hurricanes lost to Crusaders 48 - 20
10 May 2002 Hurricanes lost to Chiefs 44 - 20

An interesting statistic is that for the whole three years Graham Mourie was coaching, the Hurricanes failed to win a single match for the rest of the season after playing their game against New South Wales. WTF is with that?! The cold hard reality is that these results , whilst actually not too bad considering the squad he was given, aren't good enough in the professional era. Mark McBain (Reds coach) got the sack for finishing 5th this year with 7 wins and 4 losses - it's a hard world out there.

As far as I'm concerned the big mistake the Hurricanes continue to make is not recruiting players outside of Wellington and Taranaki. I'm sure BT and the other R&B fans will disagree but I can't understand why the South Island teams have all these world class players in their squads being used only as replacements when the North Island teams have to field the likes of Gordon Slater, Jason Spice and Campell Feather - surely it would be in the national interest (I'm trying to make it sound patriotic here) to get players like Tom Willis, Brad Mika, James Arlidge, Joe MacDonnell and Sam Broomhall off the bench and playing a full Super 12 season and, more importantly, playing for the Hurricanes. Ben Blair and Pita Alatini are others too - they shouldn't be playing for the Crusaders and Hurricanes respectively next year when in their own team they will be in the shadow of Leon MacDonald and Paul Steinmetz but elsewhere Mils Muliaina and whoever the Highlanders come up with for 2nd 5 in 2003 will play a full season. Getting those players mentioned before into the Hurricanes will ultimately be good for the All Blacks.

The coach is a very important part of a sports team - I'd say probably the most important. How good a coach is will dictate how good the team is in a huge way. Of course there are boundaries - put Laurie Mains in charge of Portugal and they still won't beat Australia, but all Hurricanes fans should wait for the announcement of the coach with bated breath beacause how good he is will translate itself into how well the Hurricanes will do. There are a few names that I'd be very happy with. The best one I can think of who doesn't have a "job" is Graham Henry. That guy is a nasty old bastard who hates losing almost as much as he hates Austin Healy.

Not tied down with a Super 12 contract is also Gordon Tietjens. He actually applied for the Wellington NPC coaching spot earlier in the year, and of course coached the Bay of Plenty last season - so he isn't JUST interested in 7's. After the Commonwealth Games he may decide to call it quits and have a tilt at coaching "real" rugby at Super 12 level. He'd be my first choice because he seems to have an uncanny knack of getting the most out of all his players - something that will certainly be required at the Hurricanes. That, and also the fact that under his coaching NZ have won every possible shield, cup, trophy, medal and championship in the game of 7's you care to name, so he knows how to succeed as well.

Finally if we choose to go overseas there are plenty of ex-pat NZers we might want to look at. Wayne Smith and Tony Gilbert are both overseas coaching some of those pasty northern hemisphere teams whom perhaps they've had enough of. In fact, why not try something completely different and get Rod MacQueen or Mark McBain? two Australian coaches with clever rugby brains and no coaching to do at the moment! Kevin Putt is a NZer coaching in South Africa - what is so silly about getting some Australians coaching in NZ?

Hmmm. Maybe not.

Whoever the coach is though I expect immediate results. Top 6 next year at least, top 4 the year after that and following those two years I expect the Hurricanes to reach the top 4 at least every other season. Anything less is failure - something that I and the rest of the Hurricanes franchise have had an absolute guts full of.


Let us know what you think!

But you Wellingtonians are so good at taking failure though! What would Devlin whinge about next year if the Canes actually live up to expectations!?!

As for getting an Aussie to coach the Hurricanes, don't even go there. Leave that up to those Cricket wallys!

And don't downplay the influence of the mighty Lozza, I reckon Laurie and the Portuguese would give those Wobblies a damn good flogging!

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