Former Kiwis coach Gary Kemble has given his thoughts on the current situation surrounding the coaching setup of the New Zealand national side, calling for improved discipline to be employed across the board.
Back in 2007 Kemble was ousted from his role as the head coach of the Kiwis in a revolt led by current Kiwis coach David Kidwell, after a disastrous tour which saw New Zealand lose 58-0 to Australia in a one-off Test before being whitewashed by Great Britain in three games, conceding 150 points across the four matches.
There were serious off-field problems as well, with allegations of assault directed at a handful of players and rumours of out of control drinking sessions throughout the UK leg.
Following a string of disappointing results under Kidwell, and with his record as Kiwi coach now reading just one win from six games, including a draw against lowly Scotland, combined with the scandal involving captain Jesse Bromwich and veteran back-rower Kevin Proctor, there are obvious parallels that can be drawn between the current campaign and 2007.
But while understanding of the situation Kidwell finds himself in with this year’s Rugby League World Cup approaching, Kemble said there’s no time to feel sorry for people coaching at the elite level of the game.
“That’s part and parcel, I went through it, everybody goes through it,” Kemble said.
“It’s a hard job for him. Stephen Kearney went through it. So that’s part and parcel, if you want the job you have to go through it and take the pressures and stress that come with it at that top level.
Lots of respect for David Kidwell for taking the stance he did today. Through these tough times he’ll become a better coach.
— David Long (@davidlongffx) May 8, 2017
“But it comes down to coach and management.
“They have got the players, and he is trying to change the culture a bit, and it’s very important for them to do that.
“I think they have got a chance at the World Cup on paper, but they need to get some discipline in the team because there are obviously a couple of things going wrong at the moment in terms of off field things.”
Kemble, who still works in sport in Auckland, said he looks back on his brief time with the Kiwis with fondness – despite the abrupt exit – believing he and his coaching staff played their part in helping New Zealand to a maiden World Cup title a year later in 2008.
“It was great, a good experience. When I got into coaching I thought to myself that I would do what I did in my playing days and look at some goals, and the ultimate goal of course was to coach the Kiwis,” Kemble said.
“Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but that’s coaching at the top level, that’s what it’s about.
“We developed a bit of depth for the Kiwis that year, it was a young team… a lot of the guys that came in backed up for the World Cup, so we think we did a pretty good job there.”