Blues 2016 squad



  • Blues to open with free game against Rebels

    18 Jan 2016
    The Blues will kick off their 2016 Super Rugby season with a free admission game in Pakuranga next month.They will play the Melbourne Rebels in their first pre-season match at the Pakuranga Rugby Club on Thursday 4 February, the Blues announced today.
    The Blues are pleased to reach out to the Auckland community with free entry for the game.
    “The communities in Auckland and Northland are our lifeblood and we want to continue to increase our work in our rugby communities,” said Blues Community & Brand Manager, Robyn Rowley.
    “Last year we brought back curtain raisers involving local college rugby, which we will continue this year. And when it allowed, the team also trained at some schools.
    “This year we had the opportunity for a home pre-season game which is an ideal chance to give back a little to the community with free entry.”
    The Pakuranga Rugby Club is thrilled to host the game.
    “It is exciting for the club and especially for the east Auckland community,” said club manager Stephen Hackett.
    “It’s great to have the opportunity to host the Blues in its roots. It is an opportunity for our members and the fans out here to get in behind the match and for them to meet the Blues.”
    Hackett said the Pakuranga club has taken significant strides both on and off the field in the last five years and the opportunity to host a game of this magnitude is reward for a community that has really backed rugby.
    The match will kick off at 5.30pm with further details about the match and entertainment to follow.
    The Blues other pre-season games will be away against the Hurricanes at Eketahuna on Saturday 13 February and the Chiefs at Pukekohe on Friday 19 February, a week ahead of the season kick-off when they host the 2015 Super Rugby champions, the Highlanders at Eden Park.
    There are new options for True Blue Members this year. In addition to the eight-game season passes, fans can opt for a Flexi-Plan package and pick the games that suit you best. All other benefits, including free rides on trains and special event buses for all games, can be viewed by going to www.trueblues.co.nz



  • From Blues Facebook page

    We'll also be announcing a Northland match for our June window soon, so watch this space



  • Stink news! I heard TJ Faiane is out for the season, if not the year, after re-injuring his ACL. Hopefully he's a bit like Conrad, where he gets all his big injuries out of the way early in his career, then is in relatively good health for the rest of his career.

    Completely agree with this - although I feel with Akira Ioane having a little less mass and been in and out of the squad this year due to 7s I wouldn't be surprised if he is more used as a bench option than an automatic starter - meaning Kaino at 8 and Luatua at 6 will likely get a good run - just a hunch.

    True. I'd hope that's not the case, though, just because we have Akira for a limited time.



  • Stink news! I heard TJ Faiane is out for the season, if not the year, after re-injuring his ACL. Hopefully he's a bit like Conrad, where he gets all his big injuries out of the way early in his career, then is in relatively good health for the rest of his career.
     
    True. I'd hope that's not the case, though, just because we have Akira for a limited time.

    Bugger. Poor fulla. It was probably more of a development year for TJ anyway rather that getting too much gametime - he's still very young so hopefully he can come back and be in the frame next year.
     
    I wonder if one of the Vaega boys may get a callup - I thought Cardiff was pretty impressive for Counties in the ITM Cup.



  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/75938800/tana-umaga-keen-to-coach-all-blacks-but-knows-blues-require-transformation-first

    Already three players – Chiefs loose forward Taleni Seu, Auckland openside Mitch Karpik and first-five/fullback Mitchell Hunt – have slipped through Umaga's grasp.
     
    "We had players in line for us that we thought we could keep. They went for better opportunities ... multi-year, more money.
     
    "Young players aren't going to wait around for a year or two. Although we'd love them to stay and we do a lot of development up here with young kids if we can't give them what they want and they get it from somewhere else then that's the reality of life. We've got to make sure we work hard to keep the ones we really want. You can't keep everyone."



  • Lol I love it how the media act as if it's only ever the Blues region that loses players. It's very lazy journalism.



  • Bugger. Poor fulla. It was probably more of a development year for TJ anyway rather that getting too much gametime - he's still very young so hopefully he can come back and be in the frame next year.
     
    I wonder if one of the Vaega boys may get a callup - I thought Cardiff was pretty impressive for Counties in the ITM Cup.

    Matt Vaega has actually been training with the team during pre-season. I wonder what Cardiff is up to, because based on form in the ITM Cup, I'd probably want him to play as a fill-in before Matt, to be honest.
     
    Speaking of Vaega's, their younger brother, TJ Vaega(the best of the Vaega boys), has signed with Auckland.



  • Lol I love it how the media act as if it's only ever the Blues region that loses players. It's very lazy journalism.

    The interesting thing for me is that it confirms they wanted, and lost, Mitchell Hunt. Perhaps that is why Francis was signed.



  • Lol I love it how the media act as if it's only ever the Blues region that loses players. It's very lazy journalism.

    Yeah, it's weird. No mention of the players they signed from outside the region either.
     
    Also love how they bring up his dream of coaching the ABs a number of times and put it in the headline, as if that isn't the dream of every NZ coach.



  • From Blues Facebook page

    re the Northland game outside the window, they did this last year IIRC, where they played a Northland invitational, sans most of the Blues big guns.
     
    IMO it isn't much different to the all but pointless pre-season 30 man sides we have had in the past few years...but at least the noises I hear is they are trying to re-engage with the Northland part of the franchise, obviously plenty of Northland kids come through the Auckland schools system on scholarships, plus plenty end up playing league in Aus too, so the talent is there, just tapping into it and getting them back up here and playing for the Blues is the hardest bit.



  • re the Northland game outside the window, they did this last year IIRC, where they played a Northland invitational, sans most of the Blues big guns.
     
    IMO it isn't much different to the all but pointless pre-season 30 man sides we have had in the past few years...but at least the noises I hear is they are trying to re-engage with the Northland part of the franchise, obviously plenty of Northland kids come through the Auckland schools system on scholarships, plus plenty end up playing league in Aus too, so the talent is there, just tapping into it and getting them back up here and playing for the Blues is the hardest bit.

    A few years ago they played a SA side up at Okara.  I popped up for it - was a good day out.  We should be doing that again I reckon



  • Cheetahs in 2011 IIRC.....is a double edged sword, have to get 10k plus through the gates just to break even on a game (paying Blues to host match, security, catering etc) and often those pre-season games co-incide with other events (IIRC that Cheetahs game was same weekend as a NZ A cricket game on over the fence) at a busy time of year, so with a pre-seaosn Blues team and the bottom SA team, not always an easy sell! 
     
    But if we cant get good crowds along, then Blues arent gonna give us a RR game...



  • The game v Cheetahs was a regular season fixture.



  • Yup, it was.  I remember the game for that double fend try by Ice.
     



  • There you go, I know I was there but thought it was another pre-season game



  • Pretty good backline back then. At least on paper. Who was at 13? Tuitavake?
    Like Kahui, Toeava was definitely a player we never really got to see turn into the player they could have gor various reasons.



  • Pretty good backline back then. At least on paper. Who was at 13? Tuitavake?
    Like Kahui, Toeava was definitely a player we never really got to see turn into the player they could have gor various reasons.

    Jared Payne was 13 for that game.



  • Jared Payne was 13 for that game.

    The Irishman?




  • I still remember cringing the first time Ranger was interviewed after a Blues game, sounded like he had just walked out of the bush....obviously a bit more relaxed now, sounds like he's been out for a while now.



  • Blues seem to die a death under the weight of expectations. Their defence wilts under pressure but with their talent they look like a team that will score tries.



  • I see Piers Francis' injury will only keep him out of action for the next 3 weeks or so - not a season ender.



  • Why does Rene Ranger always try his best to look homeless?



  • Why does Rene Ranger always try his best to look homeless?

    As TR explained on the other thread, it's North Shore Chic, not homeless.



  • I see Piers Francis' injury will only keep him out of action for the next 3 weeks or so - not a season ender.

    That's good for him, but not so much for us.
     
    I wonder if they'll bring in another 10 as cover for the first 3 weeks, as McGahan and West are our only 10s at the moment. I can't think of too many 10s we can bring in, but maybe we'll stay local and bring in Fonoti. If we don't bring in anyone, I'd assume Hall or Trainor are seen as the 3rd 10.



  • As TR explained on the other thread, it's North Shore Chic, not homeless.

    I thought North Shore chic was to look South African?



  • That's good for him, but not so much for us.
     
    I wonder if they'll bring in another 10 as cover for the first 3 weeks, as McGahan and West are our only 10s at the moment. I can't think of too many 10s we can bring in, but maybe we'll stay local and bring in Fonoti. If we don't bring in anyone, I'd assume Hall or Trainor are seen as the 3rd 10.

    Yes it seems the young first fives from Auckland are still a year or two away for being at this level (D'angelo Leuila and Wiseguy Faiane), i'm not sure on Harbour and Northland. Hopefully they see some ITM Cup action this year (perhaps 2017).



  • Yes it seems the young first fives from Auckland are still a year or two away for being at this level (D'angelo Leuila and Wiseguy Faiane), i'm not sure on Harbour and Northland. Hopefully they see some ITM Cup action this year (perhaps 2017).

    Our 'star' 1st 5 is on the Rebels roster, and I don't see any decent ones coming through, well S15 quality, some potentially good ITM ones.



  • That's good for him, but not so much for us.
     
    I wonder if they'll bring in another 10 as cover for the first 3 weeks, as McGahan and West are our only 10s at the moment. I can't think of too many 10s we can bring in, but maybe we'll stay local and bring in Fonoti. If we don't bring in anyone, I'd assume Hall or Trainor are seen as the 3rd 10.

    Male Sa'u is probably third.



  • When's the last time Sa'u played 10? He doesn't strike me as a 10 even though his wiki page listed him as a midfielder and a first 5.

    Yes it seems the young first fives from Auckland are still a year or two away for being at this level (D'angelo Leuila and Wiseguy Faiane), i'm not sure on Harbour and Northland. Hopefully they see some ITM Cup action this year (perhaps 2017).

    Yeah, those two boys aren't ready, but maybe one of them gets a go with the Development team at some point this year.



  • Who is expected to play FB in the big games ?



  • Who is expected to play FB in the big games ?

    It's hard to say. I think there are pros and cons to every fullback option in our team right now. As far as outside backs go, I think only Melani Nanai is a sure bet to start once the season starts.



  • I thought North Shore chic was to look South African?

    North Shore isn't just Albany and East Coast Bays you know.
    http://asianz.org.nz/reports/report/asian-auckland-the-multiple-meanings-of-diversity/asian-migration-and-settlement-in-auckland/
    And from the wiki:
    72.8 percent or 21,981 people of all Koreans in New Zealand live in the Auckland region (with 70% of this group living on the North Shore),



  • When's the last time Sa'u played 10? He doesn't strike me as a 10 even though his wiki page listed him as a midfielder and a first 5.

    I think you're right. I can find nothing to suggest he has actually played No.10 (though I haven't looked at Top league fixtures at all). I would then suggest that Michael Little would be the third option. He played for Fiji U20s at 10, and I think got a game or two there at ITM Cup level. Hardly shows he is ready for SupeRugby level, but there aren't many options.



  • Yes it seems the young first fives from Auckland are still a year or two away for being at this level (D'angelo Leuila and Wiseguy Faiane), i'm not sure on Harbour and Northland. Hopefully they see some ITM Cup action this year (perhaps 2017).

    Is it wrong that I pissed myself laughing at those two names?



  • Is it wrong that I pissed myself laughing at those two names?

    Wiseguy was named after the show.  Obviously Vinnie was too normal.



  • I hope he's a big fan of Adult Education by Hall & Oates.



  • Blues seem to die a death under the weight of expectations. Their defence wilts under pressure but with their talent they look like a team that will score tries.

    Well that's the inaugural 2016 Super 18 title in the bag for the Blues. Just down to the TAB to put the kids college fund on the Blues!



  • Wiseguy was named after the show.  Obviously Vinnie was too normal.

    Older brothers "Falcon Crest" and "Close to Home" must be envious



  • Well that's the inaugural 2016 Super 18 title in the bag for the Blues. Just down to the TAB to put the kids college fund on the Blues!

    But this season we have an ex AB legend with limited coaching success at the top level. What on earth could go wrong?!



  • I think you're right. I can find nothing to suggest he has actually played No.10 (though I haven't looked at Top league fixtures at all). I would then suggest that Michael Little would be the third option. He played for Fiji U20s at 10, and I think got a game or two there at ITM Cup level. Hardly shows he is ready for SupeRugby level, but there aren't many options.

    I forgot about Little playing a bit of 10. I think his last game for Harbour at 10 was in 2013? Not really ideal, but all options aren't ideal. Let's see if anyone outside of McGahan or West gets game time at 10 in the remaining pre-season matches.


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