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Mud, mayhem and a mankini: Blues begin pre-season with messy team-bonding run

It hasn't taken the Blues long to get back into the thick of it ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby season thanks to a team-bonding mud run this morning.

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Players were told to wear old clothes and shoes for the exercise - it didn't take long to see why. Source: 1 NEWS

In recent years, the Blues have often headed to the Bethells Beach sand dunes in West Auckland for a pre-season blowout but this morning it was Devenport's Ngataringa Bay bringing the challenge with its boggy landscape.

With rain adding to the occasion, Blues players quickly found themselves crawling on all-fours to get through the thick mud.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald joked to 1 NEWS he was tempted to join his players but opted out as he was wearing white shoes.

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Players had just four weeks off between seasons this year but that didn’t stop their return from being any less brutal. Source: 1 NEWS

"It sounds like fun and looks like fun," MacDonald said.

"But I see they're struggling out there a little bit now."

MacDonald added exercises like the one players had this morning to help bring the team together.

"It's a pretty new group - we've got a lot of new players in this year so doing a bit of hard work together is a good way to come together," he said.

"It's something a little bit different. I know the guys were pretty excited and a little bit nervous but there will be a lot of washing tonight."

The Blues' All Blacks weren't part of the exercise though with the likes of Caleb Clarke, captain Patrick Tuipulotu, the Ioane brothers and their well-stocked front row unit all still on a break until February.

That meant other players, such as rising talent Kurt Eklund - sporting a mankini for this morning's run - had a chance to catch MacDonald's attention although the coach wasn't so sure about Eklund's choice of clothing.

"It's a bit worrying," he laughed.

Eklund though, was full of spirit after the run regardless.

"Mum used to tell me off for doing that kind of stuff - now I get paid for it. How good?"