Ex-Tasman coach slams Crusaders

Date published: November 26 2015

Outgoing Tasman coach Kieran Keane has taken a parting shot at Canterbury and Crusaders bosses ahead of his move to the Chiefs.

Keane, who will work under Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie during the 2016 Super Rugby season, said Tasman gets a raw deal from their southern neighbours because they are overshadowed when it comes to political, selectorial and financial matters.

Tasman, Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast and Buller, are all shareholders in the provincial union consortium that received a licence to run the Crusaders franchise  until 2020.

"The relationship with the big brother has never been much good," Keane told Fairfax Media

"Largely we have had the short end of the stick… big brother has remained big brother, whether it be political, or selectorial, financial or where the games are held… it has actually been at the behest of Canterbury and the Crusaders.

"I think Tasman would be advised to build their relationship there, because [Canterbury] are a powerhouse and they have a lot of resource that Tasman never get near, in a number of areas. [The relationship] needs to be improved on for Tasman to remain a top tier side."

Meanwhile, Crusaders and Canterbury chief executive Hamish Riach is refusing to get involved in a war of words with Keane but revealed he is surprised by the accusations.

"The relationship is in good heart," said Riach. 

"He is entitled to his view and we wish him all the best."

The Crusaders invested in an academy in Nelson earlier this year. The academy should see a flow of players from Tasman and areas close to their borders to the Christchurch-based Super Rugby franchise.