Rugby Union: Kronfeld critical of All Blacks' hierarchy

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The Independent Online
THE ALL BLACK flanker, Josh Kronfeld, has produced a telling footnote to New Zealand's World Cup disappointment, painting a picture of a divided outfit in a new book.

Kronfeld gives a clear impression of negativity in player relationships, says he never trusted the New Zealand coach, John Hart, and criticises fellow players including the current captain, Taine Randell.

"Taine was not an astute on-field reader of the game," Kronfeld says in the book, which is released this week. "It's hard to lead a team when your work-rate tends to be average, as with Taine."

Kronfeld said he found Hart difficult to work with and, although their relationship strengthened in the last year, he never really felt comfortable. "When he did say the positive things or the good things, I always thought there was a hidden agenda," Kronfeld said. "I didn't feel like I could trust him because of the start." Hart resigned after New Zealand were beaten by South Africa in the play-off for third place in Cardiff on 4 November.

Kronfeld said that he discussed what was written in the book with Randell ahead of the release. "He made fun of me, but I don't think I've slagged him in any way," Kronfeld said yesterday. "I've not let him down in any way. He knows he struggled at the start and I've also said he developed into a good leader. I'd hate to be captain. I'd hate the position because of the pressure."

The Wallaby prop, Dan Crowley, has retired from Test rugby but will seek special dispensation to continue in the Super 12 with Queensland.

Crowley was given a special ovation yesterday at a Brisbane lunch for the Wallabies following this month's World Cup win in Cardiff.

"The beauty of the World Cup final for me was that I knew it would be my last game and I really thought about that as I got on to the bus and then went out to play," Crowley said.

Under an Australian Rugby Union law, the country's three Super 12 teams may only pick players who are available for international selection, but the Wallabies have lost three front- rowers since the World Cup with Phil Kearns and Andrew Blades also standing down.

"It might be a test case but hopefully it might help push us to get a fourth Super 12 team and then we would have more players to look at," Crowley said. "If I was needed [by national selectors] I might see what I could do but there's plenty of talent coming through."

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