COREY FLYNN

RW’s Alan Dy­mock finds the fires still burn­ing for Glas­gow’s All Black

Rugby World - - Spotlight On -

T THE age of 35 and hav­ing spent 13 years at Can­ter­bury, sus­tain­ing five bro­ken arms along the way, be­ing named in two All Black World Cup squads eight years apart, and then tak­ing two years in Toulouse, it would be un­der­stand­able if for­mer New Zealand hooker Corey Flynn hung up the spurs. He hasn’t though, mov­ing to the ever-am­bi­tious Glas­gow War­riors. In truth, his de­sire to stay at the sharp end of rugby has sur­prised him too.

“The hard­est thing about mov­ing away is mak­ing the de­ci­sion it­self,” Flynn ex­plains to Rugby World. “I al­ways thought I’d re­tire in New Zealand but we got the op­por­tu­nity in Toulouse and we re­ally en­joyed life away. Af­ter Toulouse, it came down to the fact we weren’t ready to go back to New Zealand.

“I am 35 but you’re al­ways ten years younger in your head than you are phys­i­cally. And I ac­tu­ally feel that suf­fer­ing all of the bro­ken arms has given longevity to my ca­reer. There have been long times when I’ve not ex­pe­ri­enced all the smash and bash in train­ing. I talked to Gre­gor Townsend about mov­ing and he men­tioned Europe and how am­bi­tious Glas­gow are. I liked that.

“I thought that go­ing to Toulouse I’d just be putting on the boots and not wor­ry­ing about it at all, but I re­alised it was still about the lit­tle things for me, about that drive and time spent work­ing. Some clubs say they are am­bi­tious but that’s on the sur­face, and for me it comes down to be­ing part of a group work­ing hard and who are whole­heart­edly team-cen­tred.

“We’re work­ing bloody hard at Glas­gow and it feels good. We loved liv­ing in France – it was a pretty amaz­ing life­style – but it was less de­mand­ing, phys­i­cally, and I sup­pose I have to say thanks to Toulouse for help­ing me recharge the bat­ter­ies!”

If the burn­ing de­sire to com­pete hard on the rugby field still flick­ers within Flynn, the push for a re­ward­ing fam­ily life also roars on. Wife Ker­ilee re­cently fin­ished a de­gree in med­i­cal imag­ing and is on the hunt for work in Scot­land, while daugh­ter Sierra, nine, and son Seth, seven, will be join­ing schools. Flynn laughs when talk­ing about how self­ish the life of a rugby player can be, but ap­pre­ci­ates why he is lucky. It is not so much that the kids dis­liked school­ing in France but that the

A“hi­er­ar­chi­cal struc­tures” of schools there were not a com­fort­able fit. Com­ing to the UK means be­ing able to pick bet­ter-suited schools for the young ones, thanks to the lack of a lan­guage bar­rier. It also al­lows Ker­ilee to take work ad­vice from the War­riors’ net­work of friends in var­i­ous pro­fes­sions but have the free­dom to utilise what her hus­band calls her “in­de­pen­dent streak” in ex­plor­ing op­tions.

Set­tling in to life in Scot­land’s largest city is all fine and well, but on the field there is plenty to do with Glas­gow. Af­ter three years of play-off progress, the side were shocked by the Guin­ness Pro12 cham­pi­ons Con­nacht in their fi­nal two out­ings last sea­son. They also failed to flee the pool stages again in Europe. While a num­ber of first-team­ers have left, the de­par­ture of un­pre­dictable and en­ter­tain­ing Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa leaves a mas­sive hole to be filled.

Per­haps not much has to change for the club, and Townsend cer­tainly un­der­lined the de­sire to take the team an­other step for­ward in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions when he coaxed Flynn across the Chan­nel. So what sort of im­pact will he have over the next sea­son?

“Well, at the mo­ment I’m not speak­ing too much,” Flynn says. “You want to earn the right to voice an opin­ion, so I’ll be as quiet as pos­si­ble un­til some­one asks me. But I want to do well for the boys and re­spect the ef­forts they have put in. I’m not just com­ing in and talk­ing about the All Blacks.

“My job is about giv­ing my best on the field but an­other role is to help with mould­ing younger guys at the club like James Mal­colm. My top pri­or­ity is ob­vi­ously to put pres­sure on Pat MacArthur and Fraser Brown. We have three very ex­pe­ri­enced hook­ers and some young, ath­letic guys to come on leaps and bounds. Who knows, the com­pe­ti­tion might even add on an­other two years for me!”

Be­ing able to ro­tate qual­ity hook­ers through­out the sea­son is a real pos­i­tive for Glas­gow. Hav­ing an older head who has been in hud­dles at the Cru­saders, Toulouse and the All Blacks can also help hugely, if he is used cor­rectly. When the pres­sure mounts in Euro­pean pools or as Test stars are called away from Scot­stoun, ex­pect Flynn to voice his opin­ion strongly. Be­cause he still cares about the lit­tle things.

He still cares about win­ning.

My ’64 Chevy Im­pala “It was a present I gave to my­self af­ter the 2011 World Cup.” Busi­ness “I part-own a cou­ple of pubs back in New Zealand.” Fam­ily “We’ll ex­plore Vic­to­ria Park and Glas­gow’s West End.”

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