Blues 2017



  • A bit early but with the latest signings, what will the Blues look like in 2017 ?
    So among the "new" players, we will see Manu, Hodgman and Pulu.
    The First XV could be :
    Manu
    Parsons
    Faumuina
    Tuipolutu
    X
    Kaino
    Gibson
    Luatua / Ioane
    Pulu
    West / Francis
    Moala
    SBW
    Ioane
    Duffie
    Nanai

    Subs
    Moulds
    Hodgman
    Ofa T
    X
    Ioane / Luatua
    Guyton
    West / Francis
    Visinia

    The weakest spot is at lock. Who will be Pat T's partner ? Scrafton ? He is unproven at this level. Or a new player ? (Rarasea, Martin ?) Unproven too ...
    Any idea ?



  • Probably Jimmy Tupou in the second row



  • Goodhue has been signed at lock, probably be a bench player for a bit

    Not sure if Moulds is signed for next year



  • Ranger will have to fit into the 22 somewhere



  • Probably Tupou to start with Goodhue on the bench. I think Goodhue will become a real star for us in the future.

    Kaino will probably share the load with Ioane as Kaino continues to get on with age and I'm sure the top ABs will have managed workloads with the Lions series.

    We also need some backup at hooker. How long is Pleasants-Tate at the Highlanders for? Wouldn't be suprised if Gafa Su'a gets a contract if we can't get Pleasants Tate. I'm assuming Moulds is also back next season.



  • So no room for Kara Pryor on the bench? What about Alex Hodgman?



  • Luatua/Kaino will have to play as backup lock if Pryor is to be on the bench (which sounds likely now that I think about it). Hodgman will most likely start off from the bench behind Manu with Ofa covering tighthead.



  • I think a good chance Kara gets a chance at 7 in the early rounds, good battle between him and Gibson, who seems a bit fragile, but then is only 21 guess he is still growing, but needs to look after himself.



  • I was impressed by Cowley-Tuioti for North Harbour last weekend - I think he's signed - another locking option.

    Also - Visinia has yet to pick up a contract for next season apparently - he may or may not be in the squad.



  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues 2017:

    I was impressed by Cowley-Tuioti for North Harbour last weekend - I think he's signed - another locking option.

    Also - Visinia has yet to pick up a contract for next season apparently - he may or may not be in the squad.

    Yes, two weeks ago Cowley-Tuioti re-signed for one season.



  • @KiwiMurph I hope we can hold on to him. A good player to provide depth to our back 3, although if he hasn't re-signed, he may well be out the door. Don't see why we would get rid of him though.



  • @African-Monkey Agree i'd like to see him stay. I think if he just concentrated on wing he'd be best.



  • As long as you have two of Luatua/Kanno/Ioane in the loose forwards, you can get away with an undersized lock like Tupou in the second row. The main thing you need when you already have those other options along with Pat T is grunt from the other lock. But boy oh boy, sort the second row out, get that packing gelling and keep them injury free and they should be a force to be reckoned with. Second only to the Crusaders forward pack, on paper.



  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues 2017:

    I was impressed by Cowley-Tuioti for North Harbour last weekend - I think he's signed - another locking option.

    Also - Visinia has yet to pick up a contract for next season apparently - he may or may not be in the squad.

    Surprised Visinia hasn't been re-signed. Could be a good pick up elsewhere with the potential for another former Blues back to be turned into a star in a different environment.



  • I wonder I Visinia has lost his place to Matt Vaega? While Visinia is good defensively, has a low error rate and a strong kick, I think Vaega has better pace, instinct/x factor and versatility ( wing, centre, fullback and goal kicker). he also did some good things when he got game time at the end of last season.
    Potential backline squad -
    Nanai, Nanai-Williams, Trainor
    Duffie, Ranger, Lam, Ioane
    Moala, Sa'u
    SBW, Faiane
    West, Francis, ?
    Pulu, Guyton, Nock.
    For 3rd flyhalf hopefully the next big thing but I have no idea who. Has Gatland shown enough?
    Tony Hanks said last week that there are only two places to fill i the squad but did not say which positions.
    Other players still not signed are Little (who might also miss out to Vaega's versatility) and Joe Edwards who is off to france as injury cover for peter Saaili.
    I suspect Sa'u is resigned because the Blues website printed a profile article on him sept 9th. He was awful in his first two games last year but was strong towards the end of the season



  • I would keep Visinia ahead of Afa Fa'atau but at this stage he would just be injury cover.

    If Ben Lam can find his 2015 form after returning from injury he should be higher in the rankings. He's been a slow developer but he was looking ready to step after that 2015 NPC.

    He was looking very good for the Blues Dev team in the curtain raiser to the 2016 season... unfortunately thats when he got his knee injury

    One of the better Auckland tries in 2015 @ 20secs:



  • @shark Yeah Bekhuis is a massive loss for us. Our lineout would fall apart without him there and I'm not convinced that Tupou is the man to replace him.



  • Blues are building some real depth that's for sure. Only real question marks are the tight 5 and 10 still.
    Goodhue looks like he could develop into a good lock for them. Others closer to the ground will know if that is likely to happen this year or take a little bit longer.
    Manu should be a good signing for them and should hopefully prevent a repeat of the Ofa double penalty try debacle we saw this year ( Hard to believe he is on the ABs bench this weekend after that game)

    Wouldn't be surprised if the Blues are actually contenders over the next couple of seasons with the Crusaders in a bit of a rebuild phase, at least in the backs, and the Chiefs and Highlanders also getting new coaches who may take a while to get things flowing. Canes could potentially be stronger next year with a few promising guys replacing those who have left and BB and TJ continuing to grow/peak



  • @pukunui said in Blues 2017:

    Goodhue looks like he could develop into a good lock for them. Others closer to the ground will know if that is likely to happen this year or take a little bit longer.

    Goodhue seems to have his head screwed on and isnt rushing himself, he turned down a contract with Northland in 2014 as he didnt feel he was ready for NPC and then he turned down a Blues contract for this season, as he didnt feel his body was ready, I think that alone will set him in good stead for being upto the level.

    With fulltime training and playing the higher level I think he will come along hugely and quickly.



  • I would assume Visinia is on his way out as Sumo mentioned during the Auckland v Otago game that Otago fullback Michael Collins is close to signing for us.



  • Visinia would be a good pick up for the Crusaders. Doubt it will happen though.



  • @Duluth Lam is a big unit and quick. He could be Hosea Gear like if he can stay fit.



  • @African-Monkey said in Blues 2017:

    I would assume Visinia is on his way out as Sumo mentioned during the Auckland v Otago game that Otago fullback Michael Collins is close to signing for us.

    I heard that, and it really surprised me. Collins has good stat's this year but he's a makeshift fullback and ain't at all quick. Plus I'm wondering if those stats are even up to much given the dominance Otago have had against other tier 2 sides and their struggles vs Canterbury and Auckland.



  • Yeah from what I've seen he doesn't look like anything special. We've got players in our own region that are just as good, if not better than Collins.



  • @ACT-Crusader said in Blues 2017:

    @Duluth Lam is a big unit and quick. He could be Hosea Gear like if he can stay fit.

    Actually, he would be more like Hosea Gear if he can't stay fit.



  • Two young backline prospects from Taranaki and Otago will head to the Blues for next year’s Investec Super Rugby Championship.

    Teenage first-five Stephen Perofeta, originally from Wanganui but playing for Taranaki, and Otago utility Michael Collins have signed to join the Blues, it was announced today.

    Both players have represented New Zealand at age grade level, Schools and/or New Zealand Under-20, and have impressed in the Mitre-10 Cup competition this season.

    Perofeta, 19, is a player for the future to join established pivots Ihaia West and Piers Francis at the Blues. He was a finalist for Heartland player of the year in 2015 after his debut for Wanganui as a schoolboy, scoring more than 100 points before scoring 58 points in three games for the NZ Heartland XV.

    He moved to Taranaki and was selected for the NZ Under-20s for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

    “He is a young player who is achieving beyond his years and we believe is an outstanding prospect for the future,” said Blues coach Tana Umaga. “We’ve been watching Stephen for some time and believe he has the attributes we need and the maturity even at his age to make a real contribution to the Blues.

    “First five has been a priority position for the past two seasons and we have been working closely with some exciting young first fives coming through in the region, but they are not yet ready to blood at Super level.

    Collins, 23, is formerly from Queenstown before moving to Dunedin where he captained Otago Boys and was selected for the NZ Schools in 2011 and New Zealand Under-20s in 2013.

    He moved to the Otago team and last year spent the off-season playing for Llanelli in the Welsh competition as injury cover before returning for the Mitre 10 Cup.

    Collins is a utility who can play midfield or in the back three, and has made his mark this year at fullback

    “Michael is another to come through the national age group system. We believe he has the speed and skills required to cover a number of backline positions and will be a real asset to the Blues.”

    The Blues will finalise their squad in the coming weeks with the announcement in early November.



  • Tana has a pretty good eye for talent spotting. Maybe he has found the 10 that the Blues need and grabbed him early, even if he isn't ready yet.



  • Just so it's noted, I talked up Collins years ago. When he was a centre. And disappeared into obscurity



  • Im a Perofeta fan - good signing.



  • Pretty uninspiring signings so far from Umaga, although it is a down year for free agents admittedly.



  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues 2017:

    Im a Perofeta fan - good signing.

    Watched him a couple of times last year and wondered why he was playing heartland rugby.

    Looks to be a smart player and a good kicker.



  • You'd hope Tana is showing Harry Plummer some love. It's early days yet, but if a player like him flourished elsewhere it would be a disaster for Auckland/Blues rugby



  • @SammyC Yes he looks to also have a natural running aspect to his game too. I thought he was the more impressive of the NZ U20s 10s this year.



  • @rotated SBW, Pulu, Manu and now Perofeta. Not inspired by Collins coming but I'd hardly say that it's been uninspiring recruitment so far.



  • @African-Monkey Jimmy Tupou also a solid signing.



  • @KiwiMurph Forgot about Tupou and Hodgman who is also a very good signing, he just hasn't had a chance to prove himself at Super level behind Moody and Crockett. Wouldn't suprise me if Hodgman starts next year.



  • Did TNW end up signing?



  • @pukunui said in Blues 2017:

    Did TNW end up signing?

    I try to keep up with all the signings, but as far as I know, he's still in Japan and hasn't signed with any SR franchise yet (or a team anywhere else).



  • @Wurzel said in Blues 2017:

    You'd hope Tana is showing Harry Plummer some love. It's early days yet, but if a player like him flourished elsewhere it would be a disaster for Auckland/Blues rugby

    His names suggests he should be playing for England.




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