Blues

All eyes on Beauden Barrett this weekend

As well as being his debut for the Blues, Sunday's match in Auckland would be his first against his former club.

Of everything Barrett pondered during the Covid-19 lockdown, it was a moment which occupied more of his time than most.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, he said he knew the game would be a unique experience.

"There's a lot of familiar faces in that team that I know very well.

"It's a game that I've played a few times in my head already and at the moment I'm just enjoying each day.

Blues capitalise on Hurricanes ill-discipline

The home side took the lead in the second minute of the game when Ben Lam scored the opening try, but their advantage was temporarily wiped out when Akira Ioane scored a try converted by Otere Black four minutes before half-time.

However a late penalty gave the Hurricanes a 8-7 lead at half-time.

In the second half ill-discipline cost the Hurricanes as they were reduced to 14 men just after half-time when Tyrell Lomax was red carded for a dangerous tackle.

Crusaders continue to dominate Blues

The two teams have a traditional rivalry like no other and Friday night was another physical battle.

In his first start of the season Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu crossed the try line in the sixth minute to give the home side an early lead.

There was a significant delay following the opening try as Crusaders tighthead prop Oliver Jager suffered a head injury attempting a tackle and was taken from the field.

Twenty minutes later the Crusaders wing George Bridge had given the visitors the lead after some good work off a lineout five metres from the try line.

Blues ready Beauden for the Lions

Barrett was at Blues training Wednesday to meet several of his new teamates after his shift from the Hurricanes.

He made a brief appearance at pre-season training but has been taking and extended break from the game in the wake of the World Cup.

"He's in today to have a look around and see how we are going. We can check on him and see how he's going so it's good to have him back around," said assistant coach Tom Coventry.

Blues' Rieko Ioane to miss several weeks with injury

The All Blacks wing impressed with two tries in the 37-29 loss to the Chiefs on Friday, but is now expected to be out of action for several weeks.

The news will be a bitter pill to swallow for the 22-year-old, who looked to have rediscovered some of the dazzling form that eluded him through a challenging 2019 season.

News of the injury comes just days after reports of raucous parties at Ioane's Auckland home, where he and brother Akira Ioane - also a member of the Blues squad - were allegedly at the centre of noise complaints. 

'No doubt' about Nonu's impact

A milestone night for Waratahs fullback Israel Foloau ended on a sour note as his team went down 32-29 to the Blues in a tense clash in Auckland on Saturday night.

The result lifted the Blues to fourth overall and within sight of second in the New Zealand conference.

With his team trailing 22-21 midway through the second half, it was a loose pass from Folau that ultimately proved decisive, allowing Nonu to charge 40m for his team's final try.

Williams to miss Blues game to provide support in Christchurch

A proud Muslim, Williams posted to social media on Sunday night saying he would be in Christchurch "later in the week to show love and give donations to the Christchurch Masjids for the people effected in this tragedy".

The Blues confirmed the 51-test midfielder would not play against the Highlanders at Eden Park.
The match would count as one of the two Super Rugby fixtures he must miss as an All Blacks player ahead of this year's World Cup.

Williams' confirmation of his trip to Christchurch followed an emotional video he posted on Friday after the terror attacks.

Crusaders beat Blues in Super Rugby opener

The nine-time champions scored four tries to three on Saturday at Eden Park, but only clung to victory when Blues reserve five-eighth Harry Plummer missed two late shots at goal.

Making his maiden Super Rugby appearance, Plummer skewed a handy conversion attempt and then a 45m penalty shot, both inside the final seven minutes of a fiercely fought Kiwi derby.

It was a gut-wrenching result for new Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, whose team look highly competitive and capable of breaking a seven-season run of failing to reach the finals.

Blues on high alert as Cook rates Ponga best player in game

Cook rated Ponga the best player in the NRL Telstra Premiership this season and the man that could single-handedly ruin plans of the Blues securing just their second series victory in 13 years.

With a mission of his own to terrorise rucks late in both halves, the 26-year-old expects to see more of Queensland's utility off the bench than he did of Anthony Milford in game one.

Ponga leads the NRL in tackle breaks (116), line break assists (13) and kick return metres with 871 in total.

Sam Whitelock to miss Blues game

Vice-captain Crotty will link with Jack Goodhue in the midfield.

The Crusaders have made six changes and one positional switch from the side that beat the Waratahs last week.

In the front row, Tim Perry makes his return from a hamstring injury and will start at loosehead prop. All Black Owen Franks also returns to the starting side this week, and Mike Alaalatoa moves to the reserves.