Richard Ferguson

Super Rugby preview – Blues


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content, Super Rugby on 13 Feb 2012 at 08:00
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The Blues go into the year’s Super Rugby campaign with one of the better squads they have had in years, with a strong forward pack linking up with a potent looking backline.

The Auckland based team will once again be captained by Keven Mealamu, who will lead from the front of a strong pack which includes All Black second rowers Anthony Boric and Ali Williams, and loose forwards Jerome Kaino and the Braid brothers.

It is in the backline though, where the squad now includes Piri Weepu, Ma’a Nonu and Rudi Wolf, adding to the already dangerous Alby Mathewson, Benson Stanley, Rene Ranger and Isaia Toeava. I know, scary right?

The biggest hurdle for this team will be to settle on a flyhalf, where they have lost Stephen Brett to the lure of the Euro. They do have a decent talent in Michael Hobbs, but it remains to be seen whether Piri Weepu will take up the pivot jersey, something he has done at the highest level for the All Blacks.

The player to look out for this season has to be Rene Ranger, who is rumoured to make a move into the outside centre jersey. Getting this speedy flyer closer to the ball will be really dangerous for any opposition, as he alone had 29 line breaks in the 2011 season.

The Blues should be able to make a strong claim for second spot in the New Zealand conference, and should be in the reckoning come play-off time.

The 2012 Blues Squad:

FORWARDS:

Anthony Boric
Daniel Braid
Luke Braid
Charlie Faumuina
Jerome Kaino
Chris Lowrey
Tevita Mailau
Pauliasi Manu
Tom McCartney
Keven Mealamu
Brad Mika
Liaki Moli
Filo Paulo
Peter Saili
Angus Ta’avao
Ali Williams
Tony Woodcock

BACKS:

Gareth Anscombe
Michael Hobbs
Alby Mathewson
George Moala
Lachie Munro
Ma’a Nonu
David Raikuna
Rene Ranger
Benson Stanley
Sherwin Stowers
Isaia Toeava
Piri Weepu
Rudi Wulf



13 Comments

  • Is it possible to include the entire squad?

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.02.12 08:05:11 by JarsonX Reply
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  • The Blues should finish in the top 6 easily.

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.02.12 08:06:53 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 1) :

    Some of the squads aren’t available, but I have included the Blues one for you…

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.02.12 08:15:25 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • I thought Rene Ranger was an outside centre by preference.

    I’d really like to see Toeava playing outside Nonu. This is still the possie that has brought out the best in Ice.

    Not sure where Nonu’s arrival leaves Stanley but I guess the possibility to use Nonu at 13 exists. Not sure Benson should player wider.

    I think this could be the defining season of Luke Braid’s career. He’s been getting there slowing, this could be the season that he hits his peak.

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.02.12 08:26:44 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 4) :

    I might be wrong with the Ranger story, I thought he was always a winger?

    I like the Braid brothers, they always tend to pop up in my fantasy league teams, let’s hope the injury plague stays away!

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.02.12 08:30:06 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : Thanks :cool: @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : I think Ranger has played at 13 alot in the past.

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.02.12 08:40:06 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Interesting! Another wing come outside centre. Seems like the flavour of the month :oops:

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.02.12 09:05:14 by Viking Reply
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  • Ranger can play either, but prefers to play centre.

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.02.12 09:56:26 by hendrikp Reply

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  • They could quite easily finish around 2nd or 3rd this year.
    If you take into account the Reds should start off relatively slow without Cooper, the Blues might be right up there with the Crusaders.

    Early prediction : Stormers or Sharks will have to travel to Auckland for the play-offs . . .

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.02.12 14:45:51 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • Strong squad. Lam is keen to play Kaino, probably the best 6 in the work at the moment at 8. Not sure I agree with that move if I was a Blues supporter.

    Keep an eye on Gareth Anscombe, the 2011 NZ U20 flyhalf. He was top points scorer in the 2011 JWC.

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.02.12 12:11:12 by slammerboy Reply
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  • @slammerboy (Comment 10) : I’m going to hold both you and Villie to this Gareth Anscombe backing :mrgreen:

    Always good to see new talent coming thru

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.02.12 12:27:10 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 11) : I rate this guy. He’s got an opportunity to make the 10 jersey his own considering he only has to compete with Lachie Munro and Piri Weepu

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.02.12 12:36:29 by slammerboy Reply
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  • @slammerboy (Comment 12) : The Blues really need a settled flyhalf who hangs in there for more than 2 seasons. Seems like every journeyman has donned on their 10 jersey in the last 4-5 years.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing this Anscombe guy, esp since you and Villie are 2 of the guys who’s comments I enjoy reading. :smile:

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.02.12 12:40:39 by beet Reply
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