Blues coaches to 'earn their money'
Blues boss John Kirwan feels the coaching staff will earn their money this week, as they prepare for their Round 12 encounter with the Stormers at Albany on Friday.
Kirwan, speaking in the build-up to the encounter at the North Harbour Stadium, admitted the Stormers will be in a confident frame of mind after they beat the Hurricanes last weekend.
"Their [Stormers] strengths are they're very physical," Kirwan said.
"They great at mauling the ball and strangling you with a good kicking game and good pressure so we're expecting them to bring that," the Blues coach said.
The Stormers are also renowned for their defensive capabilities and Kirwan is well aware of this.
"They’re also very good on defence so the attack coach is going to have to earn his money this week.
"We need to be up for them physically," Kirwan added cautiously.
The Blues and the Stormers both played tough matches over the past weekend but Kirwan knows that the side from Cape Town will throw absolutely everything at them.
"Obviously they’re very good mauling and around the breakdown.
"The [South] African sides throw different stuff at us so we just need to be ready for that," Kirwan mentioned.
It has not been a smooth build-up for the Auckland-based franchise and they are looking a bit worse for wear.
With a few players down with the flu and Rene Ranger on a drip the Blues could not have picked a worse time to have players spending time on the sidelines.
"It is Week 12, so we knew people would be tired.
"Most of the guys that are hurt or are sick have played the biggest numbers," coach John Kirwan mentioned.
A player that has been involved in all of the Blues games this season is Charles Piutau – who has been hit by a bout of flu.
"Charles [Piutau] has played every minute of every game and has done every training run so we expected this.
"It's mid-competition and we have to be careful about how much work we do on the training field," Kirwan added.
The return of Kevin Mealamu will be a welcome boost for the Blues this weekend and they will look to his physicality to set the tone against the Stormers.
"Part of the plan is for him [Mealamu] to get back into it and now is a good time.
"He’s been on the bench three weekends and he’s ready to go. JP’s [James Parsons] been fantastic for us and Kev [Mealamu] will step up this week," the coach explained.
Source: Blues Rugby