Blues backs ready to run riot

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 09:55
Large ma a nonu looks

The excitement in Grant Doorey's husky Australian voice was palpable, as the Blues backs ran through their attacking moves.

The excitement in Grant Doorey's husky Australian voice was palpable, as the Blues assistant coach looked on while the backs ran through their attacking strike moves.

"I said the first time I had the backs group together that there wouldn't be any backs coach in Super Rugby that was as excited as me in terms of the quality he had in his room so we've got real star quality across the park," Doorey said.

And it's not just the obvious names that have been impressing Doorey during pre-season training.

Yes the likes of Charles Piutau, Frank Halai and Francis Saili burst onto the scene last year and were rewarded with call-ups to the All Blacks, but it's some of the other young faces in their second year of Super Rugby that have made an impression.

"I think the level of contribution you notice out of the second year athletes is much better, they're a little bit more comfortable, a little bit keener to share their ideas, they're obviously better physically, and technically they're continuing to make improvements.

"So you should be expecting really positive things out of guys like Albert Nikoro, Pita Ahki, Baden Kerr, Bryn Hall and Jamison Gibson-Park.

"Then you add to that mix the fact that the All Blacks who have been away on a break – Charles Piutau, Francis Saili and Frank Halai who have all come back, and the experience of guys like Piri Weepu, Benji Marshall and Chris Noakes and you've got lots of intellectual property.

"Top quality pros like Jackson Willison are continually driving the standards of the group and then the young guys are continuing to bridge that gap which makes it really exciting for us."

And of course the return of All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu really adds firepower to a Blues backline already brimming with talent.

"You add someone to the mix like Ma'a Nonu who I haven't mentioned yet who's probably the best midfield player in the world right now, it really gives you scope and opportunity to play lots of different ways with lots of different styles. We've got the backline to put significant pressure on any team in the competition."

The key now will be on how Doorey unleashes these exciting and potent attacking players. His focus has been on individual skill execution and ensuring there are threats across the park.

"We're trying to focus hard on our triple threat game so our ability to run, pass and kick the ball in all options and then really working hard on our individual animation in those plays so that we've genuinely got three options available all the time and then consistently our individual skill set within those plays is always critical."

The Blues' first pre-season game is against the Hurricanes in Masterton on February 1.

Source: Blues media unit

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
Munster v Toulouse 17h45 Limerick
Sun, 02 April 2017
Waratahs v Crusaders 06h05 Allianz Park
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Allianz Park
Clermont Auvergne v Toulon 15h15 Clermont-Ferrand
Mon, 03 April 2017
Maties v UJ 14h30 Stellenbosch
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 17h00 Pretoria
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Jaguares 5 4 0 1 18
Sharks 5 4 0 1 17
Kings 5 1 0 4 5