New Zealand v Australia, Rugby World Cup, October 16
Weepu: I'm no Mr Fix-It
October 14, 2011
Piri Weepu kicked 21 points against Argentina in the quarter-final © Getty Images
All Blacks scrum-half Piri Weepu has downplayed his role in New Zealand's World Cup campaign despite his growing influence within the team.
Weepu began the tournament seemingly behind Jimmy Cowan in the queue for the No.9 jersey. But following injuries to the influential Dan Carter and his understudy Colin Slade, Weepu has not only snapped up the scrum-half shirt but also taken on far more of the playmaking and kicking responsibilities within the team.
His kicking skills and tactical appreciation have led to him taking over the goalkicking duties - which he performed to a high standard in the 33-10 victory over Argentina - as well restarts and much of the backline organisation.
Weepu's calm approach and versatility just when the wheels appeared to be coming off the All Blacks' World Cup campaign, have led to him being dubbed Mr Fixit on social network sites. But the 28-year-old, who attended his grandfather's funeral during the week, rebuffed suggestions that he was now one of the All Blacks' key players.
"I try to stay away from it," he said of the social network sites. "I heard it's a bit [frantic] at the moment. I guess I just managed to do what was required [against Argentina] and I guess it kinda helped that I kicked the majority of my penalties.
"I guess that's what helped me get through that game on Sunday. I wouldn't say I'm Mr. Fixit. "I wouldn't say depending on me. We've got guys in the team who probably are more important. I guess most of the attention put on me will mean those guys can express themselves more and be more of a threat.
"I've always been a part of (the All Blacks' leadership group), I guess, just not as much as Daniel or Richie," he added to AFP. "I've just done what I've had to and controlled what I've had to over the years. So I guess to step up and take a key leading role I've done pretty well and hopefully I can continue."
Weepu received the news of his grandfather's death immediately after Sunday's quarterfinal victory.
"It was pretty tough, expecially coming off the field on Sunday and seeing that my father was trying to get hold of me to pretty much break the news," he said. "That was pretty tough but I'm back in camp now and I've got support from the boys to get through this week and hopefully put another good effort in on Sunday.
"I don't know if (grandfather) will be on my mind, he'll definitely be watching down on me. I just went home on Tuesday morning and I was told by pretty much by all my family that he was very proud of me and he'll be looking down on me on Sunday."
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