Blues vs Rebels



  • http://theblues.co.nz/exciting-blues-side-named-super-season-opener/

    There’s a new mix of power and excitement in the Blues team for Thursday’s opening match of the Investec Super Rugby competition against the Rebels in Melbourne.
    
    The front five, with only 19 Blues caps between them, have impressed in their pre-season win against the Chiefs last week. While they may have a handful of Blues appearances, two of them are proven performers with prop Pauliasi Manu and new captain Jimmy Tupou boasting 91 Super Rugby appearances between them.
    
    Manu, who returns to the Blues after four years at the Chiefs, anchors a scrum with North Harbour prop Sione Mafileo and Northland captain Matt Moulds, who gets a start after an apprenticeship behind All Blacks Keven Mealamu and James Parsons.
    
    Tupou, with 37 appearances for the Crusaders, takes over the reins as captain in his first outing for the Blues, with co-captains Parsons and Jerome Kaino not considered for selection this week.
    
    The front five started well against the Chiefs, with coach Tana Umaga looking for a go-forward platform from his pack to provide a foundation for a young backline.
    
    Tupou’s co-captain at Counties-Manukau, Augustine Pulu, also makes his Blues debut after 51 caps for the Chiefs and playing for the All Blacks Sevens side last year.
    
    Ihaia West, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai and Matt Duffie were backline regulars last year, while young All Black Rieko Ioane starts at his preferred spot as centre, with Otago’s Michael Collins, another to impress in pre-season, making his Super Rugby debut at fullback.
    
    There are three All Blacks in the Blues’ reserves in Charlie Faumuina, George Moala and the explosive Rene Ranger, back after a long-term ACL injury last year.
    

    EDIT - corrected team list

    Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai, Ihaia West, Augustine Pulu; Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Jimmu Tupou (capt), Sione Mafileo, Matt Moulds, Pauliasi Manu

    Reserves: Hame Faiva, Sam Prattley, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Scrafton, Murphy Taramai, Sam Nock, George Moala, Rene Ranger



  • I'm assuming that Taramai is bracketed with Gibson or Ioane.



  • This is being played Thursday night in Melbourne?

    Can I ask that we put the Home team first?

    9;30 kick if I am correct>



  • Referee: Angus Gardner
    Assistant Ref 1:Ben O’Keeffe
    Assistant Ref 2:Will Houston
    TMO : Ian Smith



  • So this is the correct team:

    Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai, Ihaia West, Augustine Pulu; Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Jimmu Tupou (capt), Sione Mafileo, Matt Moulds, Pauliasi Manu

    Reserves: Hame Faiva, Sam Prattley, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Scrafton, Murphy Taramai, Sam Nock, George Moala, Rene Ranger

    Have updated the original post



  • that will be Moulds first start I believe, if he gets to about 50mins before being subbed, will amount to pretty much his whole season last year...guess it means that 2nd spot is there for him to take and make his own to press Parsons when he comes back.



  • A couple of very green locks in that line up for the Blues. Let's hope they can make the step up.

    Lots of new combinations out there so there will be an element of the unknown which could be exciting viewing.



  • @ACT-Crusader said in Blues vs Rebels:

    A couple of very green locks in that line up for the Blues. Let's hope they can make the step up.

    one of them (Tupou) is the captain!



  • One of the main reasons the Blues were a half-step behind in the NZ Conference last year was a lack of depth in comparison to the other NZ franchises.

    This team will show how much growth they have made in this area.

    On paper there are a few too many newbies for my liking but this team has reportedly impressed in preseason plus the Rebels themselves have key people missing with injuries (McMahon, Toby Smith etc).

    I'll be particularly interested in how the 8-9-10 axis of Akira, Pulu and Ihaia goes.

    Collins also - on debut starting at fullback may not be straight forward but again he seems to have played well in preseason.

    I wonder which of Ranger/Moala will go to midfield or wing when/if they come on - the way they have named the bench seems to suggest Moala to midfield and Ranger to wing ideally.

    Heading along to this one so cannot wait.



  • @nzzp said in Blues vs Rebels:

    @ACT-Crusader said in Blues vs Rebels:

    A couple of very green locks in that line up for the Blues. Let's hope they can make the step up.

    one of them (Tupou) is the captain!

    Tupou has been around for a few years now albeit with limited opportunity sitting behind AB locks. It's the other lock and the reserve who have next to no Super experience. Big responsibility to Tupou for leading these guys whilst he is trying to stamp his own authority at this level.



  • Can't help but worry about that lineout. Hopefully they can step up to the task. Good choice naming Tupou as captain imo. The guy looks to have real leadership qualities from what I've seen of him at Counties.

    Can see this being a real tight encounter. Rebels in a close one with home advantage on their side (hope I'm wrong).



  • @African-Monkey said in Blues vs Rebels:

    Can't help but worry about that lineout. Hopefully they can step up to the task. Good choice naming Tupou as captain imo. The guy looks to have real leadership qualities from what I've seen of him at Counties.

    Can see this being a real tight encounter. Rebels in a close one with home advantage on their side (hope I'm wrong).

    Blues 13+.

    Heart, not head.



  • Blues 13+. The bench will make the difference, and the pack should be on top.



  • NZ TAB:

    Rebels 2.45
    Blues 1.55
    Draw 21.00

    Centre Bet:

    Rebels 2.40
    Blues 1.57
    Draw 26.00

    Paddy Power:

    Rebels 2.29
    Blues 1.66
    Draw 19.00

    Bet 365:

    Rebels 2.37
    Blues 1.61
    Draw 23.00



  • Yeah if Manu and Tupou can lead the tight five around well enough - there is enough class in the loosies and backs that they should be able to have a good shot in this game.

    For what it's worth I believe the Rebels also have some injuries in their locking stocks.

    Of course round 1 is always tough to pick - and with the new high tackle laws some yellow or red cards could really change things.



  • @African-Monkey said in Blues vs Rebels:

    Can't help but worry about that lineout. Hopefully they can step up to the task. Good choice naming Tupou as captain imo. The guy looks to have real leadership qualities from what I've seen of him at Counties.

    Yep, MOulds has had plenty of issues at lineout time in his career, swings wildly from very good to poor, hopefully he can get more consistancy with the good cos the rest of his game is up there.



  • Tupou has got a reasonable amount of experience now and Luatua should be able to take some of the pressure off GCT/Scrafton

    I'm more concerned about Moulds, he has gotten the yips a few times in his career. Hopefully he reacts well to the pressure.. I really rate the rest of his game so if he sorts the throwing out he could have a big year.

    Edit: basically what @taniwharugby said.. posted at the same time



  • Hopefully with Moulds they start out throwing to Luatua at 2 for the first few to get the confidence going.



  • Wish I could share the same optimism as a lot of you others on here but this fixture screams a bit of the Reds game from last season where we should have gone up and hammered them but ended up getting mashed up at set piece. Either way I can't see whoever wins winning by more than 7.



  • I don't know if I'm going to be the kiss of death, but I suspect the Blues will win comfortably in the end. The better backline that will be well served by Pulu's arrival. I look at the Rebels and there's nothing exciting to add to last year.