Andy Haden


NZ Rugby World - - Outside Influences -

Andy Haden’s in­flu­ence em­braced two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent ar­eas of rugby, yet they were of sim­i­lar im­por­tance.

Firstly, he recog­nised the value of in­tense study of the li­ne­out. When he first reached in­ter­na­tional level, scrum­mag­ing was an area that was be­ing ad­vanced as vi­tal as New Zealand, es­pe­cially, at­tempted to catch up on the em­pha­sis that had been ap­plied to the scrum by Home Na­tions. This was demon­strated in the 1971 se­ries won by the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions.

But Haden saw the value in ap­ply­ing the same level of thought process to the li­ne­out with the re­sult that he be­came one of the fore­most thinkers on that as­pect of the game as well as one of the lead­ing lights in li­ne­out play. Many a hooker learnt the need for ac­cu­rate throw­ing to the li­ne­outs at Haden’s be­hest.

He wasn’t be­yond up­set­ting the ap­ple cart ei­ther with a ‘tac­ti­cal’ ploy à la the fall­ing from the li­ne­out move at Cardiff Arms Park in 1978, a choice still pil­lo­ried in Wales.

But of far more con­se­quence it was his strat­egy that was be­hind the famed ‘teabag’ li­ne­out move that pro­duced the try to Tony Wood­cock in the fi­nal of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

In his play­ing ca­reer he first toured with Ian Kirk­patrick’s side to Bri­tain, Ire­land and France in 1972-73 be­fore play­ing in Europe and re­turn­ing to New Zealand in 1976 to win a place in Gra­ham Mourie’s team to Ar­gentina.

Full test se­lec­tion fol­lowed in 1977 and he be­came a reg­u­lar in the side there­after.

Some­thing of an en­fant ter­ri­ble for the game’s ad­min­is­tra­tors, his off-the­field work in play­ers’ rights was an area of supreme in­flu­ence, even win­ning the ti­tle of Min­is­ter of Lurks and Perks from English ad­min­is­tra­tor Micky Steele-Bodger.

But at a time when ad­min­is­tra­tors were plac­ing greater de­mands on ama­teur play­ers in terms of time com­mit­ment while start­ing to re­coup sig­nif­i­cant in­come from the sale of tele­vi­sion rights, Haden was at the fore­front of se­cur­ing a bet­ter deal for play­ers.

He be­came a con­sul­tant to the New Zealand Rugby Foot­ball Union in­volved in help­ing to pro­mote the game.

His ef­forts were a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards the stag­ing of the in­au­gu­ral Rugby World Cup in 1987 while also se­cur­ing bet­ter rights for play­ers through ac­cept­able sponsorship pack­ages for teams and, in time, eas­ing ac­cess to­wards play­ers con­trol­ling their own com­mer­cial ben­e­fits.

These were all as­pects of the game well out of the am­bit of most ama­teur ad­min­is­tra­tors at the time.

When pro­fes­sion­al­ism in­evitably oc­curred, New Zealand could claim to have been awak­ened to the needs of the changed en­vi­ron­ment as a re­sult of some of the stands that Haden had taken in the years be­fore.

That he was party to the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the rebel Cava­liers tour to South Africa in 1986 added to the in­flu­ence he wielded at the time, al­beit out­side the of­fi­cial ad­min­is­tra­tion of the game.

In more re­cent times he has main­tained a con­tin­u­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with the game as a key player in the de­vel­op­ment, play­ing and com­mer­cial, of the Clas­sic All Blacks brand.

NEW REGIME Andy Haden was al­ways will­ing to stand up for his rights.

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