Scrum doctor lends expertise to Bunnings NPC teams

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Steven Bates (Auckland), Graham Dewes (Northland) and Ben Afeaki (North Harbour) have been spending time with Cron.

With 38 years of coaching, including 16 working with the All Blacks through arguably their greatest era in the game, Cron said he has two main functions with the coaches.

"There's hands-on coaching, reviewing games, analysing coaching style, and providing feedback in those areas.

"Then there's the mentoring side, where I look to help grow and develop these guys."

The coaches were 'great humans' who impressed him with their willingness to learn.

"Often when you coach, you have a whistle in your hand, and you're fully involved, seeing only about 30-40 per cent of what's happening.

"I can be that independent eye, see the bigger picture, and provide feedback on what I'm seeing, and hearing, when they coach."

Cron has always been an innovator in his approach, looking to other sports and physical endeavours to advance his understanding of performance, including sumo wrestling, cage fighting and ballet.

"I enjoy using different sporting examples as another way of getting a message across.

"Naturally, when you combine rugby with ballet, or cage fighting, it grabs people's attention and keeps them engaged. The physical nature of rugby, and all the different movements involved, means we can learn a lot from other sports."

Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said the franchise was always looking to upskill its people.

"Having someone of Mike's experience, knowledge and mana working with our coaches in our provincial unions is outstanding.

"We want to nurture talent in the region from both a playing and coaching perspective. The sustainable success of our Blues region is about ensuring we develop the talent we have on our doorstep."

Cron said the development of coaches was important, and he applauded the Blues' efforts.

"We are quick to put plenty of support around promising young players, but, in my opinion, we need to do the same for our up-and-coming coaches in order to fully support and grow rugby programmes."