Blues

More injury trouble for Blues

Already down a first five-eighth with Otere Black ruled out with a knee injury, the Blues will be without fellow number 10 Stephen Perofeta for up to six weeks after he broke his hand during his side's pre-season win over the Chiefs last week.

The Blues first match is less than three weeks away against the Highlanders meaning back up first-fives, Bryn Gatland and Dan Kirkpatrick, will fight it out for the starting spot.

Blues to decide Origin coach next month

The NSW Rugby League board met on Tuesday morning to finalise a job description for Laurie Daley's replacement and discuss interested applicants for the position.

NSW Rugby League chief executive David Trodden confirmed front-runner Brad Fittler was one of the final quartet, while John Cartwright, David Furner and Michael Maguire are also rumoured to be in the running.

"Between now and the next meeting we will interview the people who have expressed an interest, with the view to make a decision at the next board meeting which is on the 24th of November," Trodden told AAP.

Blues face nightmare draw

Part of that comes from being the supposedly weak link in the stacked New Zealand conference, and having to play each of their local rivals twice.

But their travel arrangements are also something of a nightmare.

Not only do they have to travel to South Africa for away matches against the mighty Lions and the Stormers, but they also have to deal with a lengthy flight to Tokyo three weeks later.

It's not the trip to Japan that will worry Tana Umaga and the Blues, but having to return home from the Land of the Rising Sun for a home clash with the Highlanders.

Blues re-sign key backs

Collins confirmed to Stuff in June that he had re-signed for another season with the Blues after his venture north from Otago for 2017 had proved so successful.

Now the Auckland franchise have announced that Duffie and Nanai have both committed through until the end of 2019, which establishes some much needed continuity in their back-three stock.

Ranger back to France

The 30-year-old, who featured only sporadically for Tana Umaga's Blues in 2017 as he battled injury and form issues, has agreed to a two-year deal with La Rochelle in the French Top 14 competition.

Ranger, who has made 76 appearances for the Blues, previously played for Montpellier in France from 2013-15, before returning to the Auckland franchise in 2016 in an ill-fated bid to revive his New Zealand career.

Umaga takes blame for Tokyo blue

 With both teams out of playoff contention, the last-placed Japanese side scored eight tries to three and ran the woeful visitors ragged on their way to a commanding 48-21 victory on a scorching afternoon in Tokyo on Saturday.

The Sunwolves, who had just one other win this year and came into the match having conceded 146 points in two big losses in South Africa, trailed by 14 towards the end of the first half before rattling off 41 unanswered points and keeping the visitors scoreless in the second spell.

Time for Blues to learn their lesson

When New South Wales thundered to victory in record fashion at Suncorp Stadium in Game One talk of a Blues dynasty began emanating south of the border only for Maroons coach Kevin Walters to usher in his own next generation of Queenslanders and wrest away a series in which they had been dominated for the first 140 minutes.

With Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater overseeing the introduction of eight rookies in 2017 Queensland's blip is in danger of being only one game as the Blues struggle find the formula for sustained success.

Faumuina gets the 99 call

Faumuina, 30, is heading to French club Toulouse at the end of the season.

He earnt his 50th test cap in the drawn third test against the British and Irish Lions at the weekend and this weekend's match against the Japanese side the Sunwolves would have been his 100th Super rugby game had he not missed the match against the Queensland Reds in Samoa earlier this season due to tonsillitis.

Former All Black loose forward Steven Luatua will also play his last match for the Blues.

Cordner's selfless act to own loss

With speculation growing louder that this will be Laurie Daley's final series as coach of New South Wales, the question was put to him as to whose shoulders the responsibility for the loss should fall on.

As Daley moved to defend the 17-man playing group that he had shepherded through this Holden State of Origin Series by accepting the entirety of the blame himself, Cordner spoke up for the first time in the post-match press conference to stand in front of the bullet.

NSW Blues players rally around coach Laurie Daley amid uncertain future

aley is off contract at the end of this series and speculation is rife that the coach — who has been tormented by close losses to one of the greatest sides in rugby league history — is ready to walk away.

With just one series win — the 2014 cliffhanger — to hang his hat on, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Daley would not have his contract renewed by the NSWRL should his side fail at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

However, win and he will have a record of two series wins and three losses from five attempts, a commendable effort given the quality of the opposition.