Cruden's kicking conundrum

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:43
Large aaroncrudenchiefs2

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."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 May 2018
Crusaders v Hurricanes 07h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sunwolves 09h45 Melbourne
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Highlanders 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 11 5 0 6 25
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 0 9 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
Hurricanes 11 10 0 1 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23