Blues put aside Tens triumph to focus on Super Rugby as star All Blacks return

The Blues will be back to full strength in their final pre-season game against the Hurricanes on Thursday in Warkworth, with the return of their All Blacks who have been named to play.

Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Jerome Kaino, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams and Matt Duffie have been named to start with Patrick Tuipulotu set to play in the second half at the Mahurangi Rugby Club in Warkworth, just north of Auckland.

Blues coach Tama Umaga said the team named to play against the Hurricanes had trained all of last week while the Tens team were in Brisbane and said their intensity levels in camp has boosted the teams energy throughout training.

"The experienced players have merged into the squad seamlessly and have worked very hard, and it is also good to see a number of players back training fully after some time out with injuries," said Umaga.

"This is our last hit out before Super Rugby so it is an important game for us to test our systems and our combinations. We will give most of the squad the opportunity to put their hands up for consideration for our first Super game."

Umaga admitted he was happy to win the Brisbane Global Tens title on Saturday but said his squad have immediately switched their focus to the upcoming Super Rugby season which kicks off next weekend for the Auckland franchise.

"We are excited to transfer the hard work on the practice field, in the gym and in our planning into the game situation."

Blues starting team:

1 Alex Hodgman, 2 James Parsons, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 4 Josh Goodhue, 5 Scott Scrafton, 6 Jerome Kaino, 7 Dalton Papalii, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 10 Bryn Gatland, 11 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 13 TJ Faiane, 14 Matt Duffie/Jordan Trainor, 15 Melani Nanai.

Second half Blues team:

Pauliasi Manu, Leni Apisai, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Glenn Preston, Murphy Taramai, Akira Ioane, Jonathan Ruru, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Jordan Hyland, TJ Faiane, Orbyn Leger, Tamati Tua, Jordan Trainor.

Replacements: Mike Tamoaieta, Ross Wright, Jacob Pierce, Sione Havili, Sam Nock, George Moala.

Coach Tana Umaga says that his players have "been working hard". Source: 1 NEWS


'I'm sick of it mate' - Fired up England coach Eddie Jones unleashes verbal spray on English media

England's rugby coach Eddie Jones has unleashed a verbal attack on the English media about the treatment of his fullback Mike Brown, giving one reporter a piece of his mind.

After his side's Six Nations 12-6 win over Wales yesterday, Jones gave BBC Five Live radio's reporter Chris Jones a dressing down.

Brown was awarded the man-of-the-match after his impressive performance under the high ball.

The BBC reporter asked Jones about his thoughts of Brown's work ethic during the match.

"You guys tell me he can't play Test rugby, and now you're telling me he's good," said Jones.

"You guys are unbelievable. Fair dinkum, you guys are unbelievable.

"You're always criticising him, and now he has a good game, you're all on the band wagon."

Chris Jones suggested to the England coach not to treat all media as one, which infuriated the former Wallabies coach even more.

"Oh, I think we can. I think we can. And I'm sick of it, mate."

Jones continued his attack on the poor BBC reporter, saying reporters believe they know more than him and his staff.

"And you guys are better selectors than we are. That's what you think you are. And now he (Brown) plays a good game, you're all on the band wagon," said Jones.

"He's been excellent for 23 games for us. so I don't know what was different today."

England take on Scotland next in their Six Nations competition on February 25.



'Hopefully that gives us a bit of momentum' - Matt Duffie stoked for young Blues after Brisbane 10s win

Blues winger Matt Duffie says while the gameplans used at this year's Brisbane 10s tournament probably won't make the cut for the upcoming Super Rugby season, the positivity and comradery the tournament generated amongst the team will.

Duffie, who didn't compete at the tournament, told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning that winning the tournament was a big deal for the Auckland-based franchise.

"When I jumped on board a couple of years ago, we weren't going that great," Duffie said.

"I think we're going in the right direction... the boys went over to the 10s and did well so hopefully that gives us a bit of momentum for the season.

"Last year, I went over to the 10s and played three games and we didn't make finals!"

The Blues start their season with a bye before facing the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin to start the second round on Friday 23 February.

Duffie said while the strategies used in Brisbane probably won't help this season, the vibe the winning start has generated will. Source: Breakfast