Blues v Highlanders



  • Blues named

    Interesting - Tana said like a week ago "we could shift Perofeta to fullback but we want him to focus on learning one new role not two"

    Nek minut...

    Happy to see Papalii starting and Tumua Manu get a shot off the bench.

    alt text



  • http://theblues.co.nz/gatland-and-perofeta-in-starting-line-up-to-play-highlanders/

    The Blues’ two talented pivots both get their chance to start in Friday’s Investec Rugby clash against the Highlanders.
    
    Bryn Gatland returns for his fifth start at first five, with in-form Stephen Perofeta, who has started in the last three games at No 10, moving back to fullback. It is not a position that is foreign to him, having played much of his time at Taranaki in that position, which offers him more room for his elusive running.
    
    He starts at fullback with the other custodians Melani Nanai, Jordan Trainor and Michael Collins among the 18 walking-wounded not considered for selection by the Blues this week.
    
    The tight five remains mostly intact with the versatile Jimmy Tupou moving into the second row – a role he has played often – alongside the in-form Patrick Tuipulotu who will be honoured after the game having achieved his 50th cap for the Blues in Japan.
    
    Last year’s New Zealand Under-20s player Dalton Papalii, impressive off the bench in Tokyo, gets his first start after injury earlier in the season, taking Tupou’s spot on the flank.
    
    In the backs Rieko Ioane moves back to his accustomed left wing where his battle with All Blacks teammate Waisaki Naholo should be a show-stopper, with TJ Faiane and Orbyn Leger paired in the midfield.
    
    A storming debut with two tries for big Northland wing Jordan Hyland earns him a second start leaving All Black Matt Duffie to cover the back three spots off the bench.
    
    The game starts a run of six games from seven at Eden Park, with head coach Tana Umaga wanting the team to take full toll of the home advantage.
    
    “We have been mostly on the road with a tough two-game trip to South Africa and now a trip to Japan with a short turn around,” said Umaga.
    
    “But we are home at Eden Park in front of our fans and our families for the next few games. We want to make this our fortress in the coming weeks starting on Friday.
    
    “All of the clubs have injuries and we are no different. But it gives opportunities for other players to stand up and bring some real enthusiasm to our team.
    
    “We have improved over the last two weeks and once again we have to step up again to another level in every facet of our game. Our record against other New Zealand teams is well documented so we want to make our homecoming a special one.”
    


  • I wonder if Sione Mafileo will get a run this year?



  • @tim He's actually bracketed with Tamaioeta on the bench (who is bracketed with Ofa to start).



  • More players are bracketed (Moulds/Apisai):

    The team is:
    
    1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons ©, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Jimmy Tupou, 6. Dalton Papalii, 7. Kara Pryor, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Bryn Gatland, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. TJ Faiane, 13. Orbyn Leger, 14. Jordan Hyland,15. Stephen Perofeta.
    
    Reserves: 16. Matt Moulds/Leni Apisai, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Mike Tamoaieta/Sione Mafileo, 19. Ben Neenee, 20. Murphy Taramai, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Tumua Manu, 23. Matt Duffie.
    
    Players not considered because of injury: Otere Black (knee – season), Blake Gibson (shoulder), Glenn Preston (groin, season), Sonny Bill Williams (wrist), Augustine Pulu (foot), Alex Hodgman (wrist), Scott Scrafton (leg – season), Daniel Kirkpatrick (ribs), Melani Nanai (ankle), Jordan Trainor (hand), Matt Johnson (surgery – season), Jerome Kaino (hamstring), George Moala (chest – season), Josh Goodhue (shoulder), Tamati Tua (hand), Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (knee), Caleb Clarke (appendicitis), Michael Collins (hand).
    


  • @stargazer Moulds/Apisai is in the image on the first post.



  • @kiwimurph Too small for me on my device.



  • Rieko back to 11 is the biggest positive there.



  • Giving Perofeta more time and space is probably a good idea.



  • @antipodean with Gatland-Faiane-Leger creating that time and space...

    They need to play Rieko back into form too!



  • On paper this backline looks harder to defend. Two playmakers - midfielders in midfield - multiple kicking options.

    Having said that - this Blues team has really struggled to generate front foot ball in normal phase play as their attack is so telegraphed so their best bet is probably from either turnover ball or from kick return (this is where Perofeta & Rieko in the back 3 could be a big advantage over Collins & a way out of form Duffie).

    I expect a very small crowd for this game - Friday night and Warriors playing at basically the same time.



  • @kiwimurph said in Blues v Highlanders:

    I expect a very small crowd for this game - Friday night and Warriors playing at basically the same time.

    During the last home game the north lounge was quite empty outside but packed inside.. where they had the warriors on tv.
    The NZRFU should be getting very concerned about the Blues



  • @kiwimurph said in Blues v Highlanders:

    On paper this backline looks harder to defend. Two playmakers - midfielders in midfield - multiple kicking options.
    Having said that - this Blues team has really struggled to generate front foot ball in normal phase play as their attack is so telegraphed so their best bet is probably from either turnover ball or from kick return (this is where Perofeta & Rieko in the back 3 could be a big advantage over Collins & a way out of form Duffie).

    Agreed. They're too easy to defend against in normal play. Even if they had a Ma'a to present multiple threats at second-five they'd still struggle because it's too easy to read what's going to happen from each subsequent ruck.

    But hoping to score from turnover or counter attack is a high risk, low reward strategy.



  • @duluth said in Blues v Highlanders:

    @kiwimurph said in Blues v Highlanders:

    I expect a very small crowd for this game - Friday night and Warriors playing at basically the same time.

    During the last home game the north lounge was quite empty outside but packed inside.. where they had the warriors on tv.
    The NZRFU should be getting very concerned about the Blues

    To be fair, I watched the warriors instead of the Chiefs the other week. I find Super Rugby can get a bit tedious apart form the big match ups and the warriors wagon looked so damn comfy



  • Highlanders: Ben Smith (co-captain), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Tei Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (co-captain), Daniel Lienert-Brown.
    Reserves: Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Ainley, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/103203814/highlanders-bench-halfback-aaron-smith-for-friday-nights-new-zealand-derby



  • Comedy Blues no threat so top player kicks back and smokes a cigar on the bench



  • @hooroo Yes, that's odd. I'd either start him or give him one of his mandatory rest days (although probably not against the Blues), but on the bench? 🤔



  • @Duluth are you going along?

    Do you have a 'breaking' point with this where you wouldn't be bothered travelling to the game on a cold night to watch this dross?

    I know you are loyal to the game though which is cool but surely there is a tipping point?



  • @hooroo

    I'll be there.. I'm a ground member so I've already paid to be there. I tend to ignore the incompetence of Umaga's team and concentrate on a couple of players (this week it'll be guys like Akira, Papali'i, Manu)

    I may not renew if certain people don't get sacked. The problem is I'll still want to go to the ABs, NPC & cricket



  • @duluth said in Blues v Highlanders:

    @hooroo

    I'll be there.. I'm a ground member so I've already paid to be there. I tend to ignore the incompetence of Umaga's team and concentrate on a couple of players (this week it'll be guys like Akira, Papali'i, Manu)

    I may not renew if certain people don't get sacked. The problem is I'll still want to go to the ABs, NPC & cricket

    Oh Wicked, I didn't know you could be a ground member for everything. That's pretty cool.



  • @duluth said in Blues v Highlanders:

    @hooroo

    I'll be there.. I'm a ground member so I've already paid to be there. I tend to ignore the incompetence of Umaga's team and concentrate on a couple of players (this week it'll be guys like Akira, Papali'i, Manu)

    I may not renew if certain people don't get sacked. The problem is I'll still want to go to the ABs, NPC & cricket

    I'll be there. Considering taking my boy, although I do wonder if CYFS thinks it could be a form of child abuse 🙂



  • I think it's worth noting the Highlanders have lost their only 2 away games this season (both nz derbies).

    I don't think the Blues will have the nous or class to win but they are not without hope in this game.



  • @kiwimurph said in Blues v Highlanders:

    I think it's worth noting the Highlanders have lost their only 2 away games this season (both nz derbies).

    I don't think the Blues will have the nous or class to win but they are not without hope in this game.

    People said that when the Chiefs rolled into town on crutches, pushing a dilapidated team bus that broke down climbing the Bombay Hills.

    And that's when the Blues appeared to have some confidence and form.



  • @antipodean ...and the Blues nearly won that game. Again didn't have the nous or class. I reckon another Blues losing bonus point here is a good bet.



  • @kiwimurph said in Blues v Highlanders:

    I think it's worth noting the Highlanders have lost their only 2 away games this season (both nz derbies).

    I don't think the Blues will have the nous or class to win but they are not without hope in this game.

    Yeah, it's the most likely of the 5 remaining derby matches.

    It would take some luck. The Highlanders would have to drop their standards.. or get an early red.. or the Ioanes score some individual tries



  • @kiwimurph That's literally how all our NZ derby matches go. Highlanders by 5.



  • @african-monkey with Li and Naholo tearing it up. Any other ex-blues?



  • Heard on one of the podcasts that Akira Ioane might be carrying an injury.



  • @bones Li and tearing up should not be in the same sentence, he's a joke.

    Oh, and Aaron Smith is also a former Blues squad member 😉



  • @african-monkey said in Blues v Highlanders:

    @bones Li and tearing up should not be in the same sentence, he's a joke.

    Oh, and Aaron Smith is also a former Blues squad member 😉

    I'll revisit this after the game, sounds like he's a sure bet for 4 tries. 🙂



  • @bones Hahahaha has he even scored 4 tries in his Super Rugby career?





  • @bones Yes haha that was when Taranaki rested virtually their whole side for the semi the week after and put out the Francis Douglas 2nd XV and in typical Tevita Li style he came to the party and was his usual flat track bully self smashing little kids like he has done his whole career.



  • Yes despite Tevita Li's limitations I have visions of him burning past Hyland......



  • @african-monkey said in Blues v Highlanders:

    @bones Yes haha that was when Taranaki rested virtually their whole side for the semi the week after and put out the Francis Douglas 2nd XV and in typical Tevita Li style he came to the party and was his usual flat track bully self smashing little kids like he has done his whole career.

    We're playing the Blues right? 🙂



  • @bones yeah good point



  • @African-Monkey This meme seems pertinent to current discussions...
    alt text



  • Listening to James Parsons on RS last night, he reckons he has had more drug tests this season than he has before.

    Also told a story of how Woodcock was at home chopping firewood when the drug testers turned up on his doorstep to test him...he basically threw them an axe and told them to help out until he could go inside to do the test...reckons he had them out there for over an hour!

    Parsons comes across as a great bloke too....



  • @taniwharugby said in Blues v Highlanders:

    Listening to James Parsons on RS last night, he reckons he has had more drug tests this season than he has before.

    Also told a story of how Woodcock was at home chopping firewood when the drug testers turned up on his doorstep to test him...he basically threw them an axe and told them to help out until he could go inside to do the test...reckons he had them out there for over an hour!

    Parsons comes across as a great bloke too....

    Understandable though. He is Pork Roll no more and a dam fine specimen for a hooker



  • @jk haha that's what he reckoned....


Log in to reply