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Coach backing Blues stars to fill SBW, Nonu leadership void

Despite losing former All Blacks stars Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams, the current Blues side have what it takes to succeed in 2020, says coach Leon MacDonald.

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Leon MacDonald says the current side will make their mark on Super Rugby. Source: 1 NEWS

With both Nonu and Williams having said goodbye to Super Rugby and New Zealand after last year's Rugby World Cup, the Blues' 2020 side takes on a different, more youthful look, with six debutants named for this week's season opener against the Chiefs.

Speaking to media at the Blues' training today, MacDonald outlined that senior players Rieko Ioane and new captain Patrick Tuipulotu are leading the way heading into this year's campaign.

"Rieks has always had his voice, he's always been a strong leader. He's there and doing that," MacDonald said.

"Patty's stepping up, he's the captain this year, and it's his job to step up and take control.

"This is his team, and he's doing a great job so far.

"Every team goes through a loss of leadership, and this year we've got a really good group of guys coming through and doing a good job there.

"We're investing in that space, and spending a lot of time developing our leaders, and so far the signs are really good."