’87 All Black series: Kieran Crowley

To mark the 30-year anniversary of New Zealand winning the 1987 inaugural Rugby World Cup, Beyond the Mark will share memories from some of the All Black players’ and administrators’ over the coming weeks. 

Tell us a little about what you’re up to these days? 

Coaching Benetton Treviso (Italy) in the Pro 14 competition in Europe. Into second season.

Fondest memories of the 1987 World Cup campaign? 

The way the country embraced the tournament at the time  – it was still in the amateur era so people had a lot more access and we even billeted for a couple of days.

Best and worst roomie in ’87 and why? 

So long ago I can’t remember – didn’t have any bad ones.

Why do you think the ’87 team was so successful?  

Good coaching. Winning culture. Responsibility to perform as an All Black. Talented group of players with a number of players peaking.

What was your motivation to play? 

When I was young it was the National sport and coming from a small town it was the sport everyone played – enjoyed the competitiveness, and the challenge of performing, of representing town, province and country.

Best and worst advice you’ve received?

Best advice – enjoy it, worst advice – didn’t have any.

What advice would you give to the modern day rugby player?

Make the most of it because you never know what is around the corner.

Would you have liked to play in the professional era and why?

Yes and no. Financially would be a positive, plus all the time to perfect skills, speed training, and recovery etc would have been nice, but with the professional environment some of the comradeship and ability to have a beer with the opposition has gone. Plus weights scare me and the hits today are massive compared to what we were used to.

What’s your biggest dislike in today’s rugby environment?

Mainstream media and social that are negative. ‘The All Blacks win but they don’t do it in style?’ – it’s tall Poppy syndrome!!

What is your proudest achievement outside of rugby?

My family – wife Sue and 3 children Jayden, Nicole and Casey.

Quick fire round: 5 things you didn’t know about Kieran Crowley

  1. Held an Owner Trainer license to train racehorses for a couple of years (never won a race).
  2. Played first class cricket for Taranaki and Central Districts under 20.
  3. Ran a marathon,  – ticked that off the bucket list 
  4. When I use to come in the backline as fullback for the All Blacks I use to start a couple metres in front of the wingers and time it so they caught me because if I started behind them I would never catch them.
  5. Won a Caribbean cruise in a poker tournament – by winning the tournament.

Photocredit: Adam Davy


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