As the Super 15 season starts in just under a week, I thought I would crack up a preview of the 15 teams starting with The Blues…
The Blues finished exactly mid-table in Super 14 2010, finishing seventh with 37 points. Coach Pat Lam who takes charge for a third season running with the New Zealand outfit, surely will be hoping for something better this time around. The Blues have had a very good Super Rugby warm up, with wins over the Hurricanes and Highlanders, but considering both those sides finished in the bottom half last season, Lam and his boys will need to up there game if they want to beat the big guns.
The Braid brothers have been snapped up ahead of the Super 15 season, as Lam looks to add quality to his back row. Many reports state that Luke McAlister could be given an opportunity at fly-half, while The Blues will also look to the dangerous Rene Ranger as a confidence booster.
Two of the players I have mentioned above in Luke McAlister and Rene Ranger will be key figures for the Blues this campaign. McAlister, who can pose a threat from two different positions in fly-half and inside centre, will give Lam two options. Rene Ranger who has burst onto the scene with his raw pace, and brilliant try finishing will also be a danger man for the Blues.
Meanwhile the front three and the locks could also be vital to the team from Auckland’s season, Tony Woodcock, John Afoa and especially Blues captain and legend Keven Mealamu at hooker could do some vital damage. After a spell in England with Nottingham 29 year old Ali Williams will be welcomed back into the fold, as he will most likely be partnered with Anthony Boric, a very good player and a very good servant to the Blues for six years.
The Blues are certainly a dangerous outfit, but there are many teams which are better equipped at the moment. They have World Class players all over the park, from prop to lock to centre to wing; they have quality in all positions. If Joe Rokocoko can have yet another brilliant season in the try scoring charts, and he is assisted well with Rene Ranger on the other wing, the Blues could sneak top five in the overall ladder.