A big thank you to all the Turbo supporters and particularly to our Turbos Members for your support of the team during the 2012 ITM Cup. Whilst ultimately disappointed to not make the play-offs we could not have been prouder of the effort of the team against Southland.
Some positives out of the season were the uncorking of talented youngsters such as Jason Emery, Papa Wharewera and Antonio Kirikiri to name a few. Our senior players showed huge commitment to play through injuries and retain a massive pride in wearing the Manawatu jersey.
To be 30 seconds away from making a semi final was gut wrenching as were the losses to Championship finalists Otago and Counties when we had been in positions to win both games after 65 minutes. In that regard the lessons learned from those experiences will be crucial to our ability as a group to improve next season. We are confident that we can make the necessary adaptions to our game and are encouraged with the quality individuals we have coming into the Academy to bolster our current playing stocks.
Lastly a huge congratulations to Nick Crosswell on his selection in the New Zealand Maori squad. Also congratulations to Jason Emery our latest Turbo to graduate to Super Rugby with the Highhlanders.
Best wishes to all supporters for Christmas and New Year. Look forward to catching up with you all as the 2013 season rolls around.
The boys have trained with a lot of enthusiasm and energy this week as you would expect with a Shield challenge looming! We have almost an entire squad to choose from aside from James Olivers ongoing groin problem. It has been 3 years since we last had a Shield challenge and we believe that the experience of playing in the Championship Final last year will help acclimatize us to the extra intensity of such a big game. Taranaki have been impressive in defending the Shield to date and in particular in overcoming a Canterbury side many tipped to have the wood on them. They have experience in the pack, an excellent midfield general in Jayden Hayward and some real strike power out wide (a couple of whom will be familiar to Turbos supporters!). We are under no illusions as to the enormity of the task ahead, but keen to get amongst it on Saturday and represent the Manawatu with pride. Starting well will be important as will staying composed in what should be a white hot atmosphere. We look forward to seeing as many Manawatu supporters as possible in attendance and appreciate your ongoing support.
The team are bitterly disappointed that we could not produce a victory in our first home game against a very good Wellington team. As a coaching group we were very pleased with the effort of the team but frustrated by the lack of accuracy at set piece and with our attack, where we turned over too much ball to a talented opposition. These will be key areas to address prior to taking on Auckland on Sunday at Eden Park. We finished the match strongly and Jason Emery was a spark plug off the bench in his debut.
Auckland will be a tough opponent with a physical forward pack and some talented backs well marshaled by Gareth Anscombe. If we can bring the same physicality with a lot more accuracy I am sure we will be competitive.
I look forward to seeing as many supporters as possible at the Tasman game and thanks to all of our Turbos Members for being part of the team in 2012.
We are looking forward to starting the ITM Cup campaign against Wellington at FMG Stadium on Friday night. The team has had 2 solid training days on Sunday and Monday and look forward to rounding off preparations with a further training day on Wednesday and “Captains Run” on Thursday at the Boneyard.
We played Wellington a fortnight ago in a pre-season fixture and whilst both teams will have significant personnel changes for Fridays game it was a good indicator of the type of game-plan we can expect of Wellington. Making our individual tackles and controlling our possession will be key focus areas.
We are pleased to have our full squad assembled after Super Rugby commitments concluded for our Chiefs players. The boys take great pride in playing at home and we hope to represent our community with intensity and honesty on Friday night.
We await with much anticipation the announcement of the 30 man All Blacks squad for the June internationals against Ireland with the very likely possibility that Manawatu will have 2 players in the squad. Aaron Cruden continues to be the form first five-eight in Super Rugby and his selection seems relatively assured. Aaron Smith will likely become Manawatu and Feilding Yellows latest All Black, a reward for some stellar form with the play-off contending Highlanders. Likewise we look forward to following Jason Emery at the Junior World Championship in Capetown, South Africa as the New Zealand U20s defend their title.
COB remain unbeaten in the Senior 1st competition as they continue to display a great ability to win tight games. Our spotters have identified a number of players showing solid form in club rugby and we look forward to learning more about these players as we select our squad to play as the Evergreens against Wanganui on Wednesday June 13. The Turbos Wider Training Group continue to train Monday and Wednesday evenings with our focus moving towards pattern and unit skills in preparation for the Wanganui game. Among the group we have 2 women players Selica Winiata and Sarah Goss who have been selected in an initial squad of 30 women for the New Zealand Womens Sevens. Selica and Sarah recently represented "Aotearoa" at an international tournament in Rome with Selica scoring the tournament winning try late in the final. Along with sisters Wairakau and Vaine Greig, Selica and Sarah have been great contributors to the Wider Training Group.
The season is certainly starting to build momentum and we look forward to your support at future Turbos fixtures and encourage all our loyal fans to take advantage of the great opportunities available by becoming a Turbos Member.
Jason O'Halloran - Manawatu Turbos Head Coach
Welcome to the Coach’s Blog, where I will be sharing the latest news from inside the Manawatu Turbos coaching team and providing you an insight into our activities.
We are approaching the start of the club season and it is great to hear that there is some exciting new talent emerging through various clubs which should make for a vibrant competition.
A number of these players have been involved with Player Development Manager Greg Fleming’s Development XV who played an excellent brand of rugby in their 40-22 win over the IRANZ High Performance Course XV and 18-17 loss to a Hawkes Bay Development XV. Five of these players Michael Gardner, Tepasu Thomas, Hamish Northcott, Jason Emery and Willie Paia’aua are trialling for the NZ U20s at the Massey Sport and Rugby Institute on March 22nd and we wish them the best of luck. The team has come together quickly and has been a great vehicle for us to scout the next generation of Turbos.
The first weekend of Super Rugby featured the Chiefs vs. Highlanders game which included a number of Turbos players. Aaron Cruden was 100% off the kicking tee as well as distinguishing himself with some outstanding cover defence. Nick Crosswell made a great fist of his locking duties and was conspicuous for his enormous work rate throughout. To many astute analysts this game swung on the introduction of Aaron Smith, who scored a vital try and sparked the Highlanders attack with his swift service and accurate control of game tempo. We look forward to following the competition and wish Asaeli Tikoirotuma the best of luck for his debut start against the Blues.
I have been assisting Greg with the Development XV as well as making a couple of trips to Wellington to talk footy with the Hurricanes coaches. I will be involved as a positional coach with the midfield backs at the March NZ U20s Trial Camp as well as having a hand in Turbos Wider Training Group sessions which commenced February 29th with support from Wesley Clarke, Scott Pinfold and Greg Fleming. As is customary at Manawatu it will be all hands on deck in assisting Wesley with the various Coach Development initiatives he is co-ordinating in March and April, and I look forward to the opportunity to share ideas with local coaches through my involvement with these programmes.
Finally I want to mention the new Manawatu Turbos Membership programme. With the current situation in Otago, I think fans understand more than ever how essential your support is. The packages that we have put together as a Union are fantastic and really add value on and off the pitch to get behind the Turbos. As always, having fans backing the team lifts us to another level and I trust you will show your local pride by getting yourself a Membership. We look forward to you joining the team.
Jason O'Halloran - Manawatu Turbos Head Coach