Blues v Force



  • Blues

    1 Pauliasi Manu, 2 James Parsons (c), 3 Charlie Faumuina, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Murphy Taramai, 8 Jerome Kaino
    9 Augustine Pulu, 10 Piers Francis, 11 Melani Nanai, 12 TJ Faiane, 13. George Moala, 14 Matt Duffie, 15 Michael Collins.

    Reserves: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi or Sam Prattley, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Rieko Ioane.

    Unavailable due to injury/suspension: Stephen Luatua, Sonny Bill Williams, Stephen Perofeta, Alex Hodgman, Declan O’Donnell, Blake Gibson.



  • Largely unchanged side to host Western Force

    30 Mar 2017

    The Blues are sticking with a largely unchanged line-up when they host the Western Force at Eden Park on Saturday.

    There are only two changes from the starting line-up that beat the Bulls last weekend, with the game at the earlier time of 5.15pm kick-off.

    Young flanker Blake Gibson gets a break after a highly physical game against the Bulls, allowing North Harbour loose forward Murphy Taramai with his second start.

    Coach Tana Umaga is also trying a new midfield option, with former New Zealand Under-20 player TJ Faiane getting his first Super Rugby start at second five, with George Moala moving out to centre and Rieko Ioane to come off the bench.

    “Both Blake and Rieko are young players who have done extremely well in five straight games this year. Blake had a few bumps and bruises after last week and gets a chance to freshen up and Rieko has the opportunity to provide impact off the bench.

    “I am excited for TJ who has trained so hard and earned his opportunity to start. It will present us with another option at midfield and the chance for George to play a more expansive role at centre.”

    Faiane, a former St Kentigern College star, played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools and the New Zealand Under-20s in 2014 and 2015, when he was also selected for Auckland. He suffered ACL injuries which ruled him out of rugby for much of 2015 and all of 2016 seasons.

    Umaga said the team expects a tough challenge from the Western Force, who will be motivated by the speculation that they may be dropped from the Super Rugby competition under the suggested new format.

    The curtain-raiser is between the Blues A and Hurricanes A, featuring most of the Blues players not selected for the game against the Force. See the Blues A team list here.



  • Somewhat risky with Taramai starting as he's not near the class of Gibson but I can see the reasoning.

    Very happy to see Faiane get a start - all going well i'd like to see him play the full 80 with Rieko coming on at the back end to tear up.



  • Is Taramai a better option than Pryor?



  • I can't believe Akira Ioane hasn't taken his opportunities while Luatua's been off. Still only 21 apparently, so maybe I expected too much?



  • @Milk

    Opportunities? He's barely played since the Luatua suspension.
    When he has got on the field he's played well. His one man effort to stop the Bulls rolling maul last week was freakish.. but he only had a few minutes to show anything

    As for where he should be right now - I think he has been mismanaged by the NZRFU

    He was brilliant in the 2015 NPC
    Then he joined the 7's team
    He came back to Super Rugby much leaner but still played quite well
    He played 7's in the middle of SR
    Came back to SR again
    Went to the Olympics
    Played NPC. It around here that he started looking quite flat. It looked like he tried to gain the lost weight and lost some explosiveness
    Then he went on the Maori tour and still was quite flat

    Thats a crazy 15 month start to a career. He could have handled it better, but I think the NZRFU expected too much out of a young player without an off season.

    I'm not sure why some people are so keen to write him off



  • The curtain raiser is the Blues A side vs Hurricanes Dev

    I'll probably head along early and post some updates during the game:

    1. Namatahi Waa, Blues

    2. Hame Faiva, Blues

    3. Marcel Renata, Auckland

    4. Josh Goodhue (c), Blues

    5. Brandon Nansen, Blues

    6. Dalton Papalii, Auckland

    7. Kara Pryor, Blues

    8. Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a, North Harbour

    9. Richard Judd, Blues

    10. Bryn Gatland, North Harbour

    11. Caleb Clarke, Auckland

    12. Matt Vaega, Blues

    13. Rene Ranger, Blues

    14. Jordan Hyland, Northland

    15. Jordan Trainor, Blues

    16. JP Sauni, Auckland

    17. Emerson Tamura-Paki, Auckland

    18. Afi Ielemia, Auckland

    19. Glen Preston, North Harbour

    20. Connor Collett, North Harbour

    21. Lisati Milo-Harris, Auckland

    22. D’Angelo Leuila, Auckland

    23. Tamati Tua, Auckland

    24. Salesi Rayasi, Auckland

    25. Epineri (Ratu) Uluiviti, Northland



  • @Duluth said in Blues v Force:

    @Milk

    Opportunities? He's barely played since the Luatua suspension.
    When he has got on the field he's played well. His one man effort to stop the Bulls rolling maul last

    Wasn't he dropped by Umaga after the chiefs game for lack of effort?

    He's been pretty average coming of the bench since then, in the crusaders game I was at he just walked around the field with a sorry expression on his face.

    I don't think anyone is writing him off.... we just expect a bit more workrate from him (like he showed last year in NPC)



  • @SammyC said in Blues v Force:

    he just walked around the field with a sorry expression on his face.

    Hopefully Tana has been teaching him angry faces at training



  • @Duluth said in Blues v Force:

    @SammyC said in Blues v Force:

    he just walked around the field with a sorry expression on his face.

    Hopefully Tana has been teaching him angry faces at training

    should start by telling him to run instead of walk



  • For those who watched Akira in the last 12 minutes or so last week he actually looked fired up and busy. Was a definite shift in intent. Hopefully more of the same this week.



  • Ok, so the first steps to getting Akira back to his best is getting him to run with an angry face. Tana, you had better bloody be reading this!



  • @Crazy-Horse said in Blues v Force:

    Ok, so the first steps to getting Akira back to his best is getting him to run with an angry face. Tana, you had better bloody be reading this!

    Or just increase his workrate 🙂

    Which he has already done apparently



  • I agree with the comments from the knitting circle he definitely needs to get his facial expression form back to this level

    0_1490827588392_angry face form.jpg

    But we have to accept that he is a gemini



  • Just checked what he did in his 27mins vs the Crusaders

    He carried the ball at a far higher rate to any other forward in the match. Impressively, despite playing only a portion of the match, he carried for the 2nd most metres of any forward in the match (1m behind Kaino). No missed tackles, although he didn't have to make many.



  • @Duluth said in Blues v Force:

    Just checked what he did in his 27mins vs the Crusaders

    He carried the ball at a far higher rate to any other forward in the match. Impressively, despite playing only a portion of the match, he carried for the 2nd most metres of any forward in the match (1m behind Kaino). No missed tackles, although he didn't have to make many because the Blues had a good roll on when he subbed on.

    FFS is ball carries the only stat you guys ever quote on here?

    everytime a players workrate is critiscised someone pipes up and quotes that stat.

    I'm more interested in his (non-existant) work at the breakdown (where the blues were getting destroyed)



  • @Duluth said in Blues v Force:

    @Milk

    Opportunities? He's barely played since the Luatua suspension.
    When he has got on the field he's played well. His one man effort to stop the Bulls rolling maul last week was freakish.. but he only had a few minutes to show anything

    As for where he should be right now - I think he has been mismanaged by the NZRFU

    He was brilliant in the 2015 NPC
    Then he joined the 7's team
    He came back to Super Rugby much leaner but still played quite well
    He played 7's in the middle of SR
    Came back to SR again
    Went to the Olympics
    Played NPC. It around here that he started looking quite flat. It looked like he tried to gain the lost weight and lost some explosiveness
    Then he went on the Maori tour and still was quite flat

    Thats a crazy 15 month start to a career. He could have handled it better, but I think the NZRFU expected too much out of a young player without an off season.

    I'm not sure why some people are so keen to write him off

    The guy is a huge talent and one pleasing thing for me this season is that he seems to have got rid of some of that off the ball stuff that seemed unnecessary.

    But in hindsight the 7s probably screwed him a bit. He's a different player to Messam or Adam Thompson, the 7s has IMO affected his power game. Body shape has definitely changed.



  • @SammyC said in Blues v Force:

    I'm more interested in his (non-existant) work at the breakdown (where the blues were getting destroyed)

    When Ioane was on the Blues were mounting their comeback and we had a run of good possession. The rucks were not such an issue at that stage (as for actual ruck turnovers that was only 3-2 to the Crusaders)



  • @Wally said in Crusaders v Blues:

    I was at the game. I couldn't believe how lazy A Ioane was when he came on.
    The Blues forwards were gone
    at about 60 minutes.

    @antipodean said in Crusaders v Blues:

    @Wally said in Crusaders v Blues:

    I was at the game. I couldn't believe how lazy A Ioane was when he came on.

    He'll never be an All Black.

    @Crazy-Horse said in Crusaders v Blues:

    @SammyC said in Crusaders v Blues:

    @Wally said in Crusaders v Blues:

    I was at the game. I couldn't believe how lazy A Ioane was when he came on.
    The Blues forwards were gone
    at about 60 minutes.

    He looked so disinterested, walked around the field with a sorry expression on his face.

    What has happened to the dynamic player we saw last year?

    Maybe he is trying to play for a Warriors contract. The way he is going he will fit right in.

    @Stargazer said in Crusaders v Blues:

    I think the last few posts perfectly sum up why Akira Ioane may not have what it takes to be an All Black. Contrast that to Jordan Taufua, who is exactly the opposite. Don't think there are many players who are more motivated and have a higher work rate than him. I know some think he's too small, but I'm not convinced that his height (or lack of it) should be barrier. He has plenty of other things to offer.

    A few observations from the Crusaders Blues thread after a quick look (not inlcuding my own of course)



  • 😆

    Can't wait for the great All Black career of mediocre journeyman Jordan Taufua to begin.