The Blues won Super Rugby in 1996, 1997 and 2003. They were followed by The Crusaders, Brumbies, Bulls, etc. A lot of people have asked why the Blues have not featured since; as they have always had the resources and the athletes.
In my view the reason is poor selection.
Like journalists, coaches can be side-tracked and often are; especially when they see a player do something really well like break the line or score a try. New Zealand’s biggest city with nearly half our population, is full of strike players who can do just this. My question is, “How many mistakes are they allowed to make each match?” If the answer is two, and every player in the team makes two - that’s 30 turnovers and another notch on the score board.
Winning is all about:
- Creating opportunities to score points
The Blues have finally recognised this and have selected accordingly. They start with Piers Francis who can run a match and finish with Ihaia West, who can break a game open.
- Eliminating errors
They have a couple of players, Duffie and Collins, who don’t use the miracle pass, get pushed into touch or fail to get the ball to a player in a better position. But rather they make good decisions, keep the ball alive, back up and score tries!
The Blues coaches have a long way to go and may finish last of the NZ franchises; but have recognised the first step is to be astute about selections.
- Murray Mexted, IRANZ Managing Director