Cruden's kicking conundrum

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:43
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Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden remains in doubt as to whether he will take up the place-kicking duties when the Chiefs play the Highlanders this weekend.

Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden remains in doubt as to whether he will take up the place-kicking duties when the Chiefs play the Highlanders this weekend.

The All Black flyhalf picked up a groin niggle during the Chiefs first week of pre-season training and has not fully recovered enough to take over the goal-kicking responsibility from the in-form Gareth Anscombe.

Cruden told the New Zealand Herald: "I probably wasn't used to the amount of training we were doing and ... the boys were already a long way into their pre-season training. I came back and started kicking then and that's when I started feeling it flare up."

Cruden's decision to not take on the duties has not been an issue for the Chiefs team but it seems it is going to cause a few selection headaches in other positions.

With Robbie Robinson set for a return, there is the option to rest Cruden and give Anscombe a crack at flyhalf.

The former Blues flyhalf has been outstanding at fullback this season and is brimming with confidence, so a shift to a more prominent role in the side might be a smart decision.

Anscombe has been spot-on from the tee so far this season which has meant that Cruden has not been needed by the Chiefs to kick at goal.

"I'd love to have the kicking duties back, but at the moment just with the groin the way it is, it seems to flare up whenever I do an extended kicking session," Cruden mentioned.

Cruden explained the frustration that accompanies a niggle like this: "It's starting to get there. It's probably not the way I wanted to start the season, picking up a few niggles, but I'm just working really hard with the physios here and making sure the body's right."

The Chiefs arrive home after a fairly successful trip to South Africa that saw them beat the Southern Kings but lose to the Stormers. These results have helped the defending champions consolidate their top position in the New Zealand Conference and second position on the overall log.

The Hamilton side will welcome back scrumhalf Brendon Leonard as well as centre Richard Kahui for their clash against the Highlanders at the Waikato Stadium.

"Those guys coming back into the fold has brought really good energy and it's great being back at our Ruakura base here.

"Since we've been away those guys have been put through their paces and it's good to see them hopefully be available for selection," Cruden added.

Looking forward to the game against the Highlanders, Cruden is well aware that the winless Highlanders are due a good performance.

"We know they are due for a good game and hopefully it's not this weekend against us."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Munster v Scarlets 21 | 30
Dragons v Leinster 22 | 54
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 17 | 18
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 18 | 27
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Reds 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Chiefs 1 1 0 0 5
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0