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Friday, June 6, 2014
Irene van Dyk cannot pinpoint the
exact moment thoughts of retirement
first entered her head. It was a slow
creep that began to play on her mind
more and more as the trans-Tasman
season wore on.
When she walked out of Perth’s
Challenge Stadium on Monday night
following the Pulse’s loss to the Fever,
van Dyk knew she would never wear the
black dress again.
The world’s most celebrated netballer
and widely regarded as the greatest
Silver Fern was benched at half-time in
the Pulse’s final round match with just
six goals to her name.
Van Dyk, who turns 42 this month, has
been through slumps before, each time
bouncing back to prove her detractors
wrong. In Perth, however, she knew her
time was up.
“Throughout the season I haven’t been
playing good netball and definitely not
to an international standard, but I think
the Fever game was the final nail in the
coffin to be honest,” van Dyk said.
“After each game (van Dyk’s husband)
Christie usually texts me and writes
virtually a novel with feedback, but after
the Fever game all he said was ‘have a
good flight home, I love you’, so I think
we both knew.”
After discussing it with Christie
and daughter Bianca, an emotional
van Dyk informed Silver Ferns coach
Waimarama Taumaunu of her decision
Taumaunu did not have any hint the
bombshell was coming, but she had too
much respect for the shooting legend to
try and talk her out of it. Instead, she sat
and listened and made sure van Dyk had
thought through her decision fully.
With two pinnacle events on the
international netball calendar coming
up in the next 12 months, including
next month’s Commonwealth Games,
van Dyk said it was important for the
Ferns to have continuity in the team and
she no longer felt her form warranted
“The reality after you’ve actually
spoken the words out loud was quite
hard for us. Christie and I were both in
tears and Bianca was too — it was awful.
But I know it is the right decision,” van
Then came the agonising process of
calling her Silver Ferns team-mates and
letting them know she would not be
joining them in Glasgow this year. Van
Dyk breaks down as she explains how
difficult it was to break the news to her
“second family”, many of whom she has
played alongside in the Ferns team for
nearly a decade.
“Ria ([Maria Tutaia) really struggled
she said to me you were my first
partner and I can’t lose you. Lauz (Laura
Langman) was pretty emotional too,”
van Dyk said.
“It’s those types of friendships that
I’ll really miss. Because you know each
other in and out and we’ve been playing
together for so long, it does actually feel
like a piece of your heart has been ripped
“Although I made the call, there’s still
this empty feeling.”
Van Dyk still hopes to play in the ANZ
Championship next year, and hopes to
stay involved through coaching.
“I love it, it’s part of my life and it
will always be part of my life. I said to
Christie I think I will have to go and
find a club or something because I won’t
be able to sit still. I want to keep playing
until the wheels literally fall off,” she
“I still have a passion for the game — I
haven’t lost that. Although the lows can
be so incredibly low, the highs make it
Holy Moly! A remarkable career
International career spanning
20 years; 1994-99 (South Africa),
Made her Silver Ferns debut v
Australia in Newcastle.
Most capped international player
with 145 tests for NZ and 72 for South
Has shot 4796 goals for the Silver
Ferns from 5288 attempts for a 91%
Halberg Award winner —
sportswoman of the year 2003, Silver
Ferns Team of the Year 2003 and 2003
Supreme Award for the Silver Ferns.
Netball World championship
winner 2003 in Jamaica.
Van Dyk was selected to lead
the New Zealand team in the
opening ceremony of the 2010 Delhi
In the 2009 Queen’s Birthday
honours list, van Dyk was appointed a
Member of the New Zealand Order of
Merit for ser vices to netball.
— New Zealand Herald
Time right: van Dyk
Irene van Dyk
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Crusaders lock spot on
Crusaders lock Luke Romano might be injured on the rugby field but today he had no trouble lining up his shots during some clay target
shooting at the Greymouth Gun Club, with guidance from Peter Bayliss, while being filmed for the television sports show The Crowd Goes Wild.
Romano was joined by team-mates Luke Whitelock and Jed Brown, who took time to visit the West Coast today and had the opportunity to test
their skill in some shooting. The players had lunch and took a tour at the Monteith’s Brewery, where they will be available to meet the public at 4pm.
of the Herald on Sunday
In the case of Dane Coles, bigger is
better. The 27-year-old has long been
renowned as the most mobile, agile
hooker in the country — a dynamic
fourth loose forward-type whose ball
skills were best illustrated with his
stunning out-of-contact offload in
Dublin last year that enabled Ryan
Crotty to score the winning try
The All Blacks are never going
to turn away dynamic, ball-playing
forwards, but their athleticism cannot
come at the expense of core roles.
Coles was not failing at the latter in
either 2012 or 2013, but the coaches
felt he could deliver more and to do
that, he would benefit from extra
At 106kg as he was last year, Coles
looked a little schoolboy-esque when
confronted at Eden Park by the
gargantuan Bismarck du Plessis.
He went okay as it happened in the
scrums, but the All Blacks want more
than parity at set-piece so Coles was
asked to return to Super Rugby in
2014 with more muscle on his frame.
Which he has done. He is now 110kg
and with that little bit extra, he has
made noticeably more impact in the
collisions during Super Rugby.
He has been harder to shift at the
breakdown — collecting six turnovers
— and has made 105 tackles to be the
second most prolific hooker in Super
Rugby behind the 109 posted by
His new frame suits him well.
“I have always been told I was too
small,” he says.
“But if you have got a bit of ticker,
hopefully it will take you a long way.
a bit of confidence in my strength and
because those English boys are a big
and physical and I will have to use
every ounce of my strength.”
It is not just his physicality that has
improved in 2014. Coles has a lineout
success rate of 90% — making him
one of the leading performers in
Super Rugby. There are a few higher,
but none of those have tallied 765
minutes of game time.
These improvements in his core
role execution have enabled the All
Blacks to elevate him to No 1 in
their pecking order. “ There is always
a number of things (that have to be
right in the lineout),” he says.
“ You have got to get the throw
straight but if the lift is not right or
the jump is not right, you have got
timing issues, but unfortunately it
always gets blamed on the hooker.
“I have learned to deal with it, but
it is a high pressure position. When
I was younger and stuffed one up ...
you just go into the red. But as you
get older you can deal with it a lot
better. The best way to deal with it is
to move on. If you go to the lineout
thinking about the last throw that
you stuffed up, it will play on your
mind a bit.” — APNZ
Bigger is better for Coles
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