Vodacom Super 14

Blues 'turned down Spencer'

2010-01-22 10:54
Carlos Spencer (File)
Auckland - Circle May 8 in your diary - that's when the team that offered Carlos Spencer a Super 14 lifeline meets the team that denied him.

It is almost too unreal to comprehend. The 34-year-old Spencer, the spark that ignited three Super rugby titles, playing for the competition's biggest underachiever against Stephen Brett, the man the Blues chose to bank on ahead of Spencer.

It could be a beautiful reunion but what it won't be, according to Spencer, is a grudge match.

Although he would have liked to come back and finish his Super rugby career with the only franchise he had played for, he does not spend his spare time sticking pins into voodoo dolls in the likeness of the Blues and New Zealand Rugby Union officials who rebuffed his advances.

"We had little talks but that's all it was, small talk," Spencer told the Herald.

"We put out a hint that I was quite keen to come back but, you know, there was no keen interest from back home so we flagged it.

"I wasn't too disappointed. I always said when I left New Zealand that it was unlikely that I would ever go back and play so it's just one of those things.

"One door closes and another one opens."

More specifically, the door to the Lions' den, Ellis Park, opened.

"It was a spur of the moment thing really," Spencer said. "It came up just before Christmas.

"They approached me and I was pretty excited about the opportunity to get into Super 14 again and, of course, there was the coaching side of things. It's something I've always thought about doing after rugby."

Spencer's deal takes in two Super rugby seasons with the Lions - he is seen as the ideal replacement for Andre Pretorius, who has signed for the Western Force - and a Currie Cup campaign where he will double as skills coach.

"To get a coaching job during the Currie Cup was a bonus. That's pretty much what attracted me to going back to Super 14 - to play the rugby and to get that coaching experience.

"It was absolutely perfect timing for me. I'm coming towards the end of my career and to have another season of Super 14 and do some coaching is ideal.

"I'm looking at this long term as well, not just the next couple of years. If anything comes up afterwards I would be more than happy to stay on and plan my future over there."


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