Mark Hammett

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Mark Hammett
Full name Mark Garry Hammett
Date of birth (1972-07-13) 13 July 1972 (age 42)
Place of birth Christchurch, New Zealand
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 107 kg (16 st 12 lb)
School St Thomas of Canterbury College
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Hooker
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Marist Albion
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1992–03 Canterbury 76 (45)
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1996–03 Crusaders 81 (35)
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1999–03 New Zealand 29 (15)
Coaching career
Years Club / team
2006–07
2006
2011–14
2014–
Crusaders
Canterbury
Hurricanes
Cardiff Blues
correct as of 18 May 2014.
Rugby union career

Mark 'Hammer' Hammett (born 13 July 1972 in Christchurch) is a rugby union coach and former New Zealand player. Hammett played provincial rugby for Canterbury, as a hooker, between 1992 and 2002. When the Crusaders franchise was formed for the Super 12 in 1996, he was contracted, and became a founding player. He continued to play for the Crusaders until 2003; winning four titles in the process. He was first selected for New Zealand – the All Blacks – in 1999, and frequently played for them until his retirement following the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Hammett represented Canterbury 76 times, the Crusaders 81 times, and the All Blacks 30 times – including 29 Test matches. After retiring as a player, he began coaching, and worked as forwards advisor for both the Crusaders and Canterbury in 2006. He succeeded Vern Cotter as assistant coach at the Crusaders for the 2007 season, and was appointed head coach of the Wellington-based Hurricanes in 2011, and left the team at the end of the 2014 Super Rugby season. He will take over Wales-based Cardiff Blues when he leaves his Hurricanes post, for the start of the 2014–15 season.

Playing career[edit]

Early career: 1989–97[edit]

Hammett first represented New Zealand, while he was a pupil at St Thomas of Canterbury College, when selected for the New Zealand Under 17 team in 1989.[1] He then captained the Under 19 team in 1991, before making his first appearance for Canterbury in 1992. Although his one game for Canterbury in 1992 was as a replacement, he played seven games the following season.[1] As hooker, he played mainly as backup to Matt Sexton in 1993; however, by 1994 they were sharing the role. By 1995, Hammett played more games then Sexton.[1]

Rugby turned professional in late 1995, and in 1996 the Canterbury Crusaders (now called the Crusaders) franchise was established. Hammett became a founding member of the side, which struggled in the inaugural Super 12 finishing in last place.[2][3] The 1997 season went better for Hammett; the Crusaders finished sixth, and the Canterbury provincial team won the National Provincial Championship (NPC) after beating Counties in the final.[3] Although Hammett was receiving more and more game time, he still only participated in the NPC final as a replacement.[1]

Super 12 success: 1998–2001[edit]

Hammett started regularly for both Canterbury, and the Crusaders in 1998. With the latter he won his first Super 12 title. The 1998 Super 12 final was played against the Blues at Eden Park; Hammett said of the match "If we'd been polled in that week, and had to give an honest answer, most of the boys, deep down, would probably have thought that the Blues would beat us."[4] Despite this, the Crusaders defeated the reigning champions 20–13.[5] Hammett was rewarded with a New Zealand trial, where he captained his team.[1] He was subsequently selected for New Zealand A and played against Tonga.[1]

The Crusaders achieved more success in 1999 as they finished the round-robin in fourth place, then won their semi-final, and final (both away from home) to take another championship.[6] Hammett's achievements with the Crusaders were rewarded by being called into the All Blacks in 1999, at the age of 26. His first game was against New Zealand 'A', on 11 June in Christchurch, quickly followed by his first Test against France on 26 June.[1] Hammett eventually played in the 1999 Tri-Nations, and was selected for the World Cup.

After winning a third title with the Crusaders in 2000, he was again selected for the All Blacks; getting a start against Tonga, and then playing in the Tri-Nations. After returning from All Blacks duty, he played for Canterbury and contributed to a Ranfurly Shield win over Waitako.[7] Canterbury then reached the NPC final, giving Hammett the opportunity to be part of a Super 12, Ranfurly Shield, and NPC winning team, all in the same year.[7] Wellington won the NPC final however, and the opportunity was lost.[8] Hammett was then selected for the end-of-year All Blacks tour, and played against France and Italy (both as a substitute).[1]

Hammett's 2001 Super 12 season was marred by a shoulder injury, and the Crusaders eventually finished tenth.[8][9][10] Due to injury, Hammett only played one game for the All Blacks, as a substitute against Argentina in June.[1] He missed the entire NPC campaign due to injury: an ankle problem which required surgery and causes him to also miss the 2001 end-of-year All Black tour.[10][11]

Final seasons: 2002–03[edit]

After the 2001 NPC, Crusaders' captain Todd Blackadder left New Zealand to play rugby in Scotland. During the 2002 Super 12 pre-season, half-back Justin Marshall questioned which of the senior players were going to step into Blackadder's leadership role for the tough matches.[12] Hammett took the comment "as a slap in the face", as "one player doesn't make a team."[12] Hammett later said "I took it that way, and I think a lot of the others must have as well, because we all ended up stepping up!"[12] Subsequently, the Crusaders went through the season unbeaten, including a 96–19 victory over the New South Wales Waratahs.[13] He again played for the All Blacks in 2002, starting against Australia and South Africa in the Tri-Nations.[1] The 2002 NPC season was Hammett's last, and although Canterbury were knocked out in their semi-final, they managed to retain the Ranfurly Shield.[2][14] Hammett's last match was his 76th for Canterbury.[2]

The 2003 Super 12 season was Hammett's last.[1] The team ended the round-robin second on the table, and eventually travelled to Eden Park to face the Blues in the final.[15] Although the Crusaders lost the final, Hammett scored two tries, becoming one of only three players to score two tries in a Super 12 final.[16] Despite the two tries, Hammett calls the match the biggest disappointment of his career.[16] Hammett was again chosen for the All Blacks, and eventually played in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.[1] The All Blacks call-up made Hammett reconsider his retirement plans.[17] He planned to continue playing after 2003, however a neck injury during the 2004 pre-season ended his playing career.[18]

Coaching[edit]

Two years after his playing career ended with the Crusaders, Hammett was back with the Crusaders, working as a forwards coaching advisor.[2][18] He went on to fulfil the same role for Canterbury in the 2006 Air New Zealand Cup, and was then appointed Crusaders' assistant coach in November 2006 as a replacement for Vern Cotter.[19] Hammett remained as assistant coach from 2007 to 2010, and was not appointed as Crusaders' head coach when Robbie Deans left to coach Australia in 2008; Todd Blackadder was given the head coach role instead.[2] In 2011 he was appointed coach of the Wellington-based Hurricanes.[20] After the 2011 Super Rugby season – his first season in charge – Hammett decided controversially not to renew the contracts of All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and then Hurricanes' captain Andrew Hore.[21] As of April 2014 Hammett has indicated he will not be seeking to renew his contract when it expires at the end of the 2014 season[22]

On 18 May 2014, Hammett was named Director of Rugby for Wales-based team Cardiff Blues, working along side Dale McIntosh and Paul John.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mark Hammett at AllBlacks.com
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mark Hammett – Assistant Coach". crfu.co.nz. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Super 14 Tables". lassen.co.nz. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
  4. ^ McIlraith (2005), pg 84.
  5. ^ McIlraith (2005), pg 85.
  6. ^ McIlraith (2005), pg 260.
  7. ^ a b Gifford (2004), pg 181.
  8. ^ a b Gifford (2004), pg 182.
  9. ^ Smith, Tony (2 May 2001). "Hammer Hits the Right Note". The Press (Christchurch). p. 60. 
  10. ^ a b Smith, Tony (30 October 2001). "Call to Rest Top Players for Tour". The Press (Christchurch). p. 28. 
  11. ^ "Hammett's Future Brightens". The Press (Christchurch). 11 September 2001. p. 34. 
  12. ^ a b c McIlraith (2005), pg 147.
  13. ^ Gifford (2004), pg 189.
  14. ^ Gifford (2004), pg 190.
  15. ^ McIlraith (2005), pg 294.
  16. ^ a b McIlraith (2005), pg 186.
  17. ^ Smith, Tony (23 July 2003). "Hammett Ponders Playing On". The Press (Christchurch). p. D16. 
  18. ^ a b Knowler, Richard (3 February 2006). "It's Like This Coach". The Press (Christchurch). p. D16. 
  19. ^ "Super 14 assistants named". tvnz.co.nz. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
  20. ^ Hinton, Marc (17 February 2011). "Hurricanes won't change under Hammett". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Hammett admits mistakes". Dominion Post. 
  22. ^ "Hurricanes Search for Fifth Coach". Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Mark Hammett named Cardiff Blues director of rugby

Bibliography[edit]

  • Gifford, Phil (2004). The Passion – The Stories Behind 125 years of Canterbury Rugby. Wilson Scott Publishing. ISBN 0-9582535-1-X. 
  • McIlraith, Matt (2005). Ten Years of Super 12. Hodder Moa. ISBN 1-86971-025-8.