Blues vs. Highlanders



  • So, opening match of the tournament at 7:30pm on Friday. Here's my pic for the Blues team:
     
     1. O. Tu’ungafasi
     2. Parsons
     3. Faumuina
     4. Tuipulotu
     5. Scrafton/Matenga
     6. Luatua
     7. Gibson
     8. A. Ioane
     9. Guyton

    1. West
    2. Nanai
    3. Moala
    4. Ranger
    5. Lamb
    6. Duffie
    7. Mayhew
    8. MacDonald
    9. Mafileo
    10. Edwards/Matenga/Scrafton
    11. Ram
    12. Hall
    13. S'au
    14. McGahan
       
      Back three, lock combo, and loose forward or lock as a reserve are the questions.


  • Think perhaps they may swap Ioane and Luatua as Luatua seems to be earmarked at 8 this season.  Ok, ok just guessing.



  • Yeah I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see Luatua at 8, Edwards at 6 and Ioane off the bench.
     
    Unfortunately I expect to see Bekhuis starting - from what i've seen he's logged the most time in the 5 jumper during preseason.
     
    Guyton and Hall look like they will keep each other honest which is good - an upgrade over old man Cowan last year.
     
    As a Blues fan I must say I super excited about this match. Blues were pretty much out of the running 3 or 4 weeks into last season with the rest of the season a roller coaster/circus over Kirwan staying or going. It's been a long wait - looking forward to it after a promising preseason and plenty of exciting talent throughout the team. It's easy to forget in the shambles of last year that the Blues were destroyed by injuries too, particularly in the forwards losing Faumuina, Tuipulotu, Luatua, Kaino to injury and Akira Ioane to the U20s.
     
    Just seeing a Blues team with a half decent game plan will make a huge change from last year.



  • Annoyingly Glen Jackson is reffing this one.



  • Fuck. 😕



  • Hometown Jackson?  The Blues are playing at home.



  • So, opening match of the tournament at 7:30pm on Friday. Here's my pic for the Blues team:
     
     1. O. Tu’ungafasi
     2. Parsons
     3. Faumuina
     4. Tuipulotu
     5. Scrafton/Matenga
     6. Luatua
     7. Gibson
     8. A. Ioane
     9. Guyton

    1. West
    2. Nanai
    3. Moala
    4. Ranger
    5. Lamb
    6. Duffie
    7. Mayhew
    8. MacDonald
    9. Mafileo
    10. Edwards/Matenga/Scrafton
    11. Ram
    12. Hall
    13. S'au
    14. McGahan
       
      Back three, lock combo, and loose forward or lock as a reserve are the questions.

    Think Bryn Hall will get first crack at 9. Wouldn't be suprised if Sa'u comes in for Ranger and Edwards for Ioane.



  • Be interested to see how Duffie goes , 
     
    Came from a rugby background , played St Kents first 15 , Looked a very promising young kid years ago when he first signed with the Storm ,was probably the equal of Izzy Folou going up for the high ball,  but was plagued with injury which prevented him going to the next level



  • Think Bryn Hall will get first crack at 9. Wouldn't be suprised if Sa'u comes in for Ranger and Edwards for Ioane.

    Sa'u did look very sharp against the Chiefs.



  • Well plenty of others have trodden the path Ranger has and never recaptured the formthey once had, so will be interesting.



  • As a Highlanders fan, I'm quite worried about this game, as I feel like the Blues are a similar beast to what we were two seasons ago. Plenty of young talent, with a whole lot to prove and really wanting to put the ghosts of last year to bed. Plus they'll have the unknown going for them. While the Highlanders are a rather predictable unit, everyone knows our game plan. 
     
    Our side will be (in my opinion)
     
    Brendon Edmonds
    Ash Dixon
    Josh Honheck
    Tom Franklin
    Joey Wheeler
    Elliot Dixon
    Shane Christie (c)
    Liam Squire
     
    Aaron Smith
    Lima Sopoaga
    Patrick Osborne
    Rob Thompson
    Malakai Fekitoa
    Waisaki Naholo
    Ben Smith (c)
     
    Liam Coltman
    Dan Lienert Brown
    Ross Geldenhuys
    Mark Reddish
    James Lentjes
    Fumiaka Tanaka
    Marty Banks
    Jason Emery
     
    Loose forwards are the toughest to pick, I reckon later in the season we will end up with a 6-2 split on the bench, but they won't quite be doing it yet. But it's quite a luxurious position to be in to be leaving out the likes of Dan Pryor, Gareth Evans and Luke Whitelock. The only question I have is how Rob Thompson steps up to Super Rugby.
     
    Still think we should win, but it will be a heck of a battle.



  • Out of curiosity what would Blues fans consider a success for this game?



  • We could do with a first five Southern Man 😉



  • We have one, his name is Lima, I think he goes quite good.



  • As a Highlanders fan, I'm quite worried about this game, as I feel like the Blues are a similar beast to what we were two seasons ago. Plenty of young talent, with a whole lot to prove and really wanting to put the ghosts of last year to bed. Plus they'll have the unknown going for them. While the Highlanders are a rather predictable unit, everyone knows our game plan.
    Our side will be (in my opinion)
    Brendon Edmonds
    Ash Dixon
    Josh Honheck
    Tom Franklin
    Joey Wheeler
    Elliot Dixon
    Shane Christie (c)
    Liam Squire
    Aaron Smith
    Lima Sopoaga
    Patrick Osborne
    Rob Thompson
    Malakai Fekitoa
    Waisaki Naholo
    Ben Smith (c)
    Liam Coltman
    Dan Lienert Brown
    Ross Geldenhuys
    Mark Reddish
    James Lentjes
    Fumiaka Tanaka
    Marty Banks
    Jason Emery
    Loose forwards are the toughest to pick, I reckon later in the season we will end up with a 6-2 split on the bench, but they won't quite be doing it yet. But it's quite a luxurious position to be in to be leaving out the likes of Dan Pryor, Gareth Evans and Luke Whitelock. The only question I have is how Rob Thompson steps up to Super Rugby.
    Still think we should win, but it will be a heck of a battle.
    6-2 split on the bench might be tough if they're going with an 8-6 split to start...



  • We could do with a first five Southern Man 😉

    Well an Otago 10 has headed North and already in the BLues dev side....



  • Out of curiosity what would Blues fans consider a success for this game?

    A win lol. Losing by 1 may as well be 100 imo as we had plenty of close losses before the wheels came falling off and we started handing out games to players via cereal boxes last season. If we are to be competitive this season I feel we must win at least 2 of our first 4 games and I see this game as a massive opportunity for us especially at home.



  • Agree - massive opportunity but a much bigger ask now with Kaino out.
     
    Will be a real early season test for the blues



  • The Blues team is:
    Ofa Tu’ungafasi
    James Parsons ©
    Sione Mafileo
    Patrick Tuipulotu
    Josh Bekhuis
    Joe Edwards
    Blake Gibson
    Steven Luatua
    Bryn Hall
    Ihaia West
    Tevita Li
    George Moala
    Male Sa’u
    Melani Nanai
    Lolagi Visinia.
    Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Charlie Faumuina, Akira Ioane, Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Rene Ranger



  • RR in the reserves?
     
    Maybe T is looking for a more distributing centre to use the outsides and use RR as an impact player?
     
    Some good impact off the bench there with Charlie, Akira and RR.