Thursday, 17 May 2012

Post World Cup Donald!

It's not often the the player who nails the winning points in a world championship match isn't even in the same country the following season. After Steve Donald took care of business, and rescued New Zealand's world cup dream from the jaws of a French team that saved their best rugby for last - as the fourth string first five - he would have been forgiven for turning his back on Bath and taking up the vacant number 10 jersey in the Blues camp.

Thankfully he didn't.

To put it simply, he made the right choice post-world cup. His move to Bath did look to be unlikely for a time as the eligibility rules for overseas players in the UK competition meant the Bath Rugby Club had to work hard to secure his services. During that time he contemplated moving up the highway from the Chiefs to the Auckland Blues after new coach Dave Rennie bought Hurricanes play maker Aaron Cruden to the Waikato team.

Thankfully Donald made it to the U.K. While his awkward style of play, and inconsistent form in the black jersey has made Donald a much maligned player in NZ, we're suggesting that his move was the best choice because he'd earnt the right to finish his time in NZ rugby on a high. Despite the constant criticism throughout his career, 'Beaver' kept at it, with his positive attitude and self-belief...and was the last man standing when it counted.

No one could have foreseen it, but the Blues have slumped to their worst season despite high profile signings Piri Weepu and Ma'a Nonu. It might have been a different story had Donald played between the two, but the overall performance of the team and inconsistent selections by coach Pat Lam may have put an ugly finish on his world cup heroics.

The new All Black 'training squad' was announced this week, (with a few surprises) with the selectors going with the form of Cruden, reputation of Carter and potential of Wellington rookie Beauden Barret, at 10. Donald may have found it hard to justify a place in the national side playing for the Blues. Both Piri Weepu and Ali Williams could both count themselves very lucky to be included.

It would have been a shame to see the fairy tale finish as a part of the disaster that is the 2012 Blues, and likely missing out on the AB's as a result. So it looks like Beaver made the right choice, and capped off his World Cup victory nicely by heading overseas.

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  1. I get a hint they were happy to see him go? Almost saying Bath is second rate to super15. Let him see his days out here and save his embarrassment of fading out in NZ.