Beauden Barrett These extensions are clever!!
Leon MacDonald (Getty Images)
Auckland –BluescoachLeon MacDonaldhas named a 40-strong squad for the 2020 Super Rugby season.
While the likes of high-profile players Sonny Bill Williams, Ma’a
Nonu and Melani Nanai have gone, the bulk of the 2019 squad – 26 of them in all – are returning for 2020 with another four who have
come through the Blues development system or been part of the team
There are 16 of the 22-strong forwards returning, led by All Blacks
Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Karl Tu’inukuafe and Dalton Papalii,
centurion James Parsons and outstanding loose forwards Blake Gibson,
Akira Ioane and Tom Robinson, who enjoyed a superb debut Super season.
The Blues have looked for more experienced hookers with Kurt Eklund
(Bay of Plenty) and Samoan international Ray Niuia (Tasman) at 27 and 28
years respectively, both returning to their Auckland roots.
Uncompromising provincial locks James Tucker (Waikato) and
29-year-old Baden Wardlaw (Bay of Plenty) are rewarded for their
Mitre-10 Cup campaigns to join the middle row stocks.
The Blues’ exciting back row of Gibson, Ioane, Papalii, Robinson and
Hoskins Sotutu will be augmented by New Zealand under-20 representative Waima
These addons are quite smart!
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