Blues 2017



  • @gt12 said in Blues 2017:

    @Tim

    Shirley, Duffie gets booted?

    Umaga seems to be keen on him, and he improved quite a lot with Harbour, so perhaps not.

    I'm not sure how Ranger fits into a back three without a Ben Smith type player.



  • @taniwharugby Certainly going to be an interesting battle for 7.

    IIRC, Gibson re-injured his hand early in the NPC season, so perhaps he wasn't at 100%?



  • @Tim

    Duffie is pretty good in the air, but he was five shades of shit in Super rugby last year, at least from my drunken recollections :) I admit that I didn't see any Mitre 10 cup, so can't comment, but I'd have got rid of him from the team if I were picking players and had the option.

    Would it be a skillset that Rieko could/should develop? From memory, he didn't seem terrible for the ABs, but again, I may have been boozed.

    Otherwise, Ranger is pretty useful as a bench option?

    I still think he potentially brings plenty, although he was pretty shit for a while there too, before he got injured. As @ACT-Crusader said, he's very Umaga-esque on D at 13, but was looking lost on attack.



  • @gt12 I'm not a Duffie fan, and would prefer Vaega (and maybe Collins), but he does seem to be popular with the coach.



  • I'd actually be really interested to see how West goes at fullback. Could be pretty dangerous with a bit of extra space/time.



  • Duffie was rubbish early on last year - however he improved a great deal, particularly after the bye - he put in some quality performances - and was outstanding in Mitre 10 Cup - he will start at wing or fullback id say interchanging with Nanai.

    I think the 10-12-13 axis is going to be key for the Blues - West-Moala-Ranger failed miserably there last year - West-Francis 10-12 was much better.

    Id say Nanai and Duffie are locked in for the back 3 for the start of the season with the other winger spot going to Rieko or another if Rieko is at 13.

    Personally id go with Rieko at 13 and play Moala/Ranger on the wing but I suspect theyll play Rieko on the wing early and play Moala at 13. Hopefully Ranger is seen as a winger not a 13.

    It will be interesting to see Blues lineup on Friday for the last trial - fingers crossed for no injuries.

    To me with West he only looks good at 10 if you play a 2nd playmaker at 12 - so Francis.

    Id like to see Perofeta off the bench at fullback offering another playmaking option during the season.



  • If Ioane comes on strongly, I'd love to see at him at 13, with Moala on the wing.



  • I'm intrigued by so many people clamoring to have Ioane at 13. Why? He's looked brilliant on the wing and is very accomplished there. I understand he's played 13 at age group and dabbled there at senior level, but I can't say he's wowed me when I've seen him there and his skillset seems more dangerous on the wing.

    Plus, Moala.



  • @Bones

    I think many (including Hansen apparently) see his future there. I think he's got the tools to be good there, but agree he's better on the wing now. I'd be interested to see him get some time there, especially if he can work off SBW or Moala.

    Edit: Added Hansen comment from Stuff:

    Long term, the prospect of Blues star Rieko Ioane developing into a polished centre option enthuses Hansen.

    "Rieko Ioane's best position is probably going to be centre. He's going to be involved with the sevens but will be free later in the year."



  • Rieko played mostly/all Mitre 10 Cup at 13 for Auckland and was easily the best player in a woeful team. He runs attacking lines of a classic centre. Outside SBW offloads he could be a weapon. He still has work to do on his distribution but so does Moala. His pace makes him a short term option at wing agreed.



  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues 2017:

    Rieko played mostly/all Mitre 10 Cup at 13 for Auckland and was easily the best player in a woeful team. He runs attacking lines of a classic centre. Outside SBW offloads he could be a weapon. He still has work to do on his distribution but so does Moala. His pace makes him a short term option at wing agreed.

    A Moala 12, Rieko 13 combo would be effective as well.
    I know Umaga is expected to use Francis at 12 to provide another set of tactical eyes for West but maybe it would be better to force West to step up.
    Having Moala, Ioane and SBW all in the 23 provides a lot of gameplan options.



  • @taniwharugby said in Blues 2017:

    be interesting to see where Tana goes at 7, cos Pryor was very good last year when Gibson was injured and the last couple of games Gibson came off the bench with Pryor starting.

    Kaino is ancient in loose forward years. I'm sure his workload will be managed.. so there will be plenty of rotation in the loosies

    The trio that started the trial game might be a hint:
    7 Gibson
    8 Akira
    6 Pryor

    The main thing Pryor needs to improve on this year is his ball security. Way too many miracle balls last year.



  • @Tim said in Blues 2017:

    I'm not a Duffie fan, and would prefer Vaega (and maybe Collins), but he does seem to be popular with the coach.

    Yeah Duffie seems to be a favourite of Tana's I would pencil him in to start

    I disagree with a few of his outside back selections (Declan O'Donnell, Ambrose Curtis) but that does seem to suggest he wants pace out wide. Duffie and Ioane?



  • @Tim said in Blues 2017:

    I'm not sure how Ranger fits into a back three without a Ben Smith type player.

    When was the last time Ranger played a good game?

    He was up and down last year.. he hasn't played a second of the last two NPCs.. his time in France was a mixture of him being injured or shit.

    2013?

    I have no problem with him getting chances from the bench. However he should not walk into the starting XV when there are good options who have shown form in the last 3.5 years



  • Now with Luatua off i'd like to see Akira get gametime ahead of Steven. As has been mentioned Kaino will be managed so Luatua should still get plenty of opportunities - and Akira hopefully takes a step forward with a lower error rate and higher work rate.

    Agreed on Ranger - there's a nagging feeling he is done - but hopefully a run of not being injured can mean he can show his stuff.



  • @Duluth yeah that has been an issue with Kara Pryor alright, if he had the error rate of his brother he would be outstanding.

    Although some of that may just be trying too hard at times.



  • @KiwiMurph

    I was wondering if Luatua shipping out was also related to his standing at the Blues?

    Pure speculation, but if Tana had made it somewhat clear that Ioane was his long term first choice 8, perhaps Luatua saw his opportunities limited, in which case, AB selection gets even harder?



  • @gt12 said in Blues 2017:

    I was wondering if Luatua shipping out was also related to his standing at the Blues?

    Pure speculation, but if Tana had made it somewhat clear that Ioane was his long term first choice 8, perhaps Luatua saw his opportunities limited, in which case, AB selection gets even harder?

    Kaino and Tuipulotu start when fit, Jimmy Tupou is an Umaga favourite and Ioane is rated as the next big thing..

    The addition of Tupou may have put the squeeze on a bit. Sure, he's more of a lock than Luatua but he also covers 6/8. The same job Luatua does in the 23

    I doubt its the main reason but uncertainty about his starting spot wouldn't have helped



  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues 2017:

    Rieko played mostly/all Mitre 10 Cup at 13 for Auckland and was easily the best player in a woeful team. He runs attacking lines of a classic centre. Outside SBW offloads he could be a weapon. He still has work to do on his distribution but so does Moala. His pace makes him a short term option at wing agreed.

    In attack he was good but defensively seemed well off the reading and footwork needed even at NPC level. If he can correct those then he should make a decent go at it. But I would keep him on the wing.

    However, given we've seen Naholo given time at test level in the midfield when required, I expect he will be given an opportunity in the midfield.



  • @ACT-Crusader Yeah personally I think that is simple coaching - the Auckland team looked v poorly coached combined with the truncated format of Mitre 10 Cup - for example by contrast his defence was impressive when he came off the bench and played the whole second half at centre for the ABs v France - that looked to be the impact of a few weeks in ABs camp. Having Umaga as coach and the ability to actually work with him (not having him bugger off to 7s) will surely only help.


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