TheStar Thursday May302019 40 SPORT news online at www.star.kiwi Senio ensures players have a voice • By Gordon Findlater KEVIN SENIO has gone from being the voice behind the Crusaders forward pack to a voice for the latest generation of players. Senio played 25 games at halfback for the Crusaders between 2006 and 2007, scoring two tries. He has now returned to his roots in Auckland and works as a player services manager for the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association. The role involves helping players have their say on issues such as the structure of the Mitre 10 Cup and Super Rugby. “New Zealand rugby have their consultation processes and then the players through our body have those discussions and give feedback around what the future looks like in an employment environment, how the competition looks and through to any types of initiatives which are good for the game,” said Senio. He grew up playing league in Auckland before moving to union at the age of 12. He played his secondary school rugby at Liston College in Henderson before joining Kelston Boys’ High School where he earned a spot in the New Zealand Schools team. After school, he played club rugby for Ponsonby and was part of the New Zealand Colts in 1998 and 1999. He had seasons with Auckland and Counties Manukau. However, he moved to Bay of Plenty in 2003 to get extra game time. In 2004, he achieved one of the greatest moments in his career, helping the Steamers win the Ranfurly Shield for the first time when they upset Auckland 33-28. After making seven appearances for the Chiefs in 2005, the Crusaders came calling as they sought a replacement MANY SPORT nuts who like to think of themselves as somewhat of an expert when it comes to predicting a result will have inevitably dreamt up the idea of betting on sport for a living. This is also commonly known as having a gambling problem, and to most folk seems like an unrealistic dream as soon as you realise the easy results to predict offer bugger-all due to the fact most bookies, such as the TAB, have their own experts who are probably smarter than you and I. However, what if the bookies didn’t know their stuff? What if you could bet on the local reserve rugby team, which the TAB haven’t put the time or resources into researching and the odds were in your favour? This is a reality for anyone who considers themselves a club level football expert in Christchurch. Half-price tickets Some Crusaders fans will only have to pay half-price for tickets to the Rebels game at Christchurch Stadium on June 8. The offer applies to everyone who attended a Crusaders home game this year. These fans will receive an email and text with a promotional code to receive the discount. for Justin Marshall. He quickly made a decision to join the Crusaders – a side with which Senio knew he could achieve success. “History speaks for itself in terms of their success and I was really curious to experience something new and progress myself as a player,” said Senio. He admits he was initially overwhelmed by the expectations which came with filling Marshall‘s boots. Bet365 – an online betting company, based in the United Kingdom – offers betting on the Mainland Premier League, Canterbury Championship League and even the Mainland Premier League reserve league. You can also bet on the Women’s Premier League and Canterbury Women’s Championship League. The ability to be able to bet on a local amateur sport as deep as the third-tier surely comes with some question marks. It’s worth noting the majority of players in the MPL reserve league are “There was definitely an internal pressure I put on myself and that was a bit of a dilemma for a while . . . probably halfway through the campaign, I became more settled and comfortable in my own skin,” said Senio. During his time at the Crusaders, Senio battled for playing time with a young Andy Ellis. However, he says the battle for minutes on the field only saw the pair grow closer off the field. “I’ve got a really good relationship with Andy. Even today he’s just witty, quick and always playing jokes and pranks on everyone else,” said Senio. “That first time together away was awkward because you’re both competing for the same position, but you suss each other out and then just have a bit of a giggle about it and get over it.” Senio started at halfback for the Crusaders in their 19-12 win over the Hurricanes in the 2006 Super Rugby final. He played One-eyed Cantab Gordon Findlater email@example.com teenagers – many of whom aren’t even old enough to bet (I’ll touch on this later). The best money to be made was in the opening weeks of the season. Anyone who follows football here would know Christchurch United were expected to brush aside their opposition in the CCL after luring a large number of MPL and national league players in the off-season. This premonition proved correct. Christchurch currently have eight wins from as many games and have scored •Over the Super Rugby season, TheStar will look back each week at some of the identities who graced the Crusaders jersey in the past and discover where they are now HELPING OUT: Kevin Senio and former All Blacks sevens captain DJ Forbes (far left) during a community rugby initiative with the New Zealand Barbarians. MOVING SOUTH: Kevin Senio played for the Crusaders between 2006 and 2007. 11 games in the 2007 season before moving to France to join Castres Olympique. Although he eventually adjusted to the language and the culture, he admits it was a shock to the system at first. “There was a lot of head nodding and even making animal noises and gestures to try and figure out what you’re eating,” he said. “In terms of what we understand, leadership and how you contribute to a successful environment was flipped upside down on its head, especially at Castres. We would have changed coaching staff three times in that first year . . . it was definitely a cut-throat system,” said Senio. “If we played well, then we would go out for a beer later, but if we didn’t we would stay at home because we were too worried about being picked apart by the locals – that’s just the way it is.” In 2009 Senio joined ASM 38 goals and conceded just two goals. However, in week one the UK bookies kindly offered up more than $2 for Christchurch to defeat Parklands United, which they did 4-0. Newly-promoted MPL team Western United – which are currently third in the league – were reportedly given long odds in the early part of their season against teams they could have easily been predicted to beat after some solid recruiting in the offseason. There was also the case of regular powerhouse Ferrymead Bays having half their squad raided in the off-season and being at extremely kind odds to drop points early in the year. The other thing that must be considered if betting on our amateur football leagues is that, unlike the English Premier Clermont Auvergne and helped them win their first Top 14 title in 2010. He played a number of seasons for the club before returning to New Zealand in 2014 where he has since worked for the NZRPA. Senio played a handful of matches for the Ponsonby premier side after coming home with the likes of Rieko Ioane, Akira Iaone and Michael Fatialofa, who were coming through the Blues system at the time. He is now an assistant coach with the premier side. “I love the community engagement. I love there’s no pressure on these young guys, it’s just a safe place for them to come and learn their trade,” he said. Outside of his work and coaching commitments, Senio enjoys time with his wife Anna, a former Silver Ferns squad member, and their four daughters aged between five and 16. How to have a punt on the football and win League or Super Rugby, it’s not just injuries and form which affect the odds. We’re talking about a level of sport where a wedding or a player’s 21st birthday on a Friday night can have a massive impact on a team’s performance on Saturday. I also doubt whether the news of a reserve team’s injury crisis will travel as far as the UK bookies. From what I understand those in the know have been making the most of these uneducated odds – even to the point of parents creating accounts for their 16 and 17-year-old sons who are young experts on the local scene. If you had a Bet365 account at the start of the football season, kudos to you. If you don’t, sign up – there’s never been a better time to be a local football nut.
local sport Proudly brought to you by... Tower JuncTion Phone: 348 6020 Open 7 days 11am to late www.speightstowerjunction.co.nz 41 TheStar Thursday May3020192019 SUPER RUgby TiPPing ComPETi T ion Brought to you By the star media company O U R T I P S T E R S S E L E C T I O N S SHORT-LIVED: First XV captain Charlie Murray holds up the Trust Bank Cup after St Andrew’’s College took it off St Thomas’ on Saturday. St Andrew’s keep cup for less than 48 hours • By Gordon Findlater THE SOUTH Island secondary school equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield possibly had its shortest ever tenure after St Andrew’s College held the Trust Bank Cup for less than 48 hours. On Saturday, St Andrew’s defeated St Thomas of Canterbury College 26-14 to claim the cup for the first time. Then on Monday, they were unsuccessful in • By Gordon Findlater NEW BRIGHTON have turned around their rough start to the season by claiming the DCL shield and now throwing their hat in the ring for a late top six push. On Saturday, New Brighton defeated Marist Albion 24-17 to win the DCL Shield, which is played for in a challenge format during each round of the premier metro competition. The win moved New Brighton to just one point outside the top six, two weeks after they found themselves nine points behind the sixth-placed team. “An attitude change had to happen . . . they’ve really started to hit their straps and the effort has really lifted,” said New Brighton coach Scott Pawson. New Brighton are on 23 points in eighth position. However, with Shirley (26), their first defence against Dunedin’s John McGlashan College – losing 26-27. The unsuccessful defence brought an end to one of the shortest periods of time any school has held the cup. Following their win on Saturday, St Andrew’s travelled to Dunedin by bus on Sunday. Still recovering from a bruising encounter with St Thomas’, they were pipped by John McGlashan, which scored a try with 5min remaining to secure Linwood (24), Sydenham (24) and Burnside (22) all within striking distance, each team almost has their top six hopes in their own hands with just two rounds left in the first phase of the competition. Following the first phase, the 12 teams will be split into a bottom and top six. On Saturday, New Brighton will travel to Sumner for the battle of the beaches. Sumner are lingering in 10th spot. However, they have won three of their last four games and Pawson is the cup. The Trust Bank Cup started the season at Christchurch Boys’ High School before being claimed by St Thomas’ for the first time a week prior to their loss to St Andrew’s. Last week TheStar reported St Thomas’ win over CBHS was their first in history. However, a number of old boys have pointed out they were part of the first St Thomas’ team to defeat the CBHS first XV 16-13 in 1986. New Brighton starting to turn their season around Scott Pawson GRUDGE MATCH: The DCL Shield will be on the line when New Brighton meet Sumner in the battle of the beaches at St Leonards Park on Saturday. expecting a difficult match at St Leonards Square in front of a strong Sumner crowd, which he describes as being “worth an extra 10 points.” Meanwhile, the battle for the first phase Hawkins Cup is even more equally poised with Christchurch and defending champions Lincoln University locked on 33 points. 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