@Stargazer I agree.
I see Pete Samu mentioned as a possibility - I saw him fall off a lot of tackles for the Crusaders - he's a good useful player (not sure he's a natural 7) but for me he missed too many tackles to make this team.
The Herald also purposely didnt include Canes cos they played the Sunwolves - I thought it would be more fun to include Canes.
@Hooroo Pulu was outstanding. He along with Rieko were the two best players on the field. Everything he did was excellent - with and without the ball.
Another I almost put in was Pauliasi Manu - I thought he was terrific for the Blues - scrum went well - was good around the park and muscled over for a try.
Even the Tahs Force highlights looked rubbish.
For some reason the Force are a bit of a bogey side for the Tahs - and they love to drag teams into an unwatchable grind as well.
At least there seemed to be some running rugby in the 3 overnight games in South Africa. Lions v Tahs should be a good battle next week and a truer reflection of where both teams are at.
Some things don't change - Jackson is still rubbish.
Crusaders not terribly convincing but given how they usually start seasons they'll take the win.
Thought Taufua, Goodhue and Dagg were the Crusaders best.
Bridge I thought would go better but he has ability - worth sticking with.
@pukunui who would you have starting over Duffie? The Blues have lost Li and Lam. Duffie is no star but he is a second fullback who doesnt do much wrong, can finish and is excellent in the air. I was super critical of Duffie at the start of last year but he has improved a heck of a lot in 12 months.
Yeah Rebels struggle to market with their stars - let alone without about 5 of their best players.
One thing I was impressed with the Blues was the skills - generally the kicking and passing - that was a real weakness under kirwan and even somewhat last year under Tana. I know theyve brought in a rated skills coach from Ireland so will be interesting to see how it goes - next week v Chiefs away is a whole other proposition.
@Frank He started slow. Bad missed tackle early on for Rebels first try. He got better as the game went on. Put in some great tackles-turnintomauls- which is his specialty - completely set up Rieko's hat trick - could have scored himself. Workrate looked pretty good - decent involvement. Not too bad for week 1.
Was at the game.
Despite the below cant read too much into it - Blues depth is superior to Rebels but thats not saying much. Plus round 1 means little - Blues often start well - Brumbies wooped Canes week 1 last year.
Rieko is a freak. Looked a few levels above his competition. He looks a natutal at centre - to me it looked like he has worked on his distribution and vision over the offseason.
Pulu was brilliant - he can be hot and cold but has started hot.
Tight 5 went well considering the names. Real solid. Tupou looks a solid captain.
Francis and to a lesser degree Collins solid and provides the glue
Blues used a lot of wide passing out the back off turnover/good ball - keen to use space.
Not a bad game of rugby for round 1. Not as many dropped balls or penalties - high shots werent over officiated.
the grass held up well.
very good stadium to watch rugby at. Rebels small fanbase seem genuine too - diff atmosphere to Tahs games at SFS.
10,000 was the crowd - probably 20% of that were kiwis.
So overall cant read too much into it - Chiefs next week is going to be a tough ask - but Blues started about as well as they could have hoped - that is all you can ask for. One happy Blues fan.
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