Blues HQ was opened up to 44 North Harbour and Northland rugby players over the weekend for the 2016 Blues Under-18 Combine.
Following the successful launch of the Combine concept with Auckland 1B schools in 2015, the programme was extended to Northland and North Harbour schools.
The Under-18 players spent the day learning Blues values, hearing from Blues coaches, undergoing fitness and skills testing, plus learning specific skills with members of the 2016 squad.
Players were nominated by schools and provincial unions to attend the combine, with Talent Identification (TID) staff on hand to identify players ahead of the Blues Under-18 camp.
A majority of the players who attended hadn’t been part of any previous Blues development squads, so the day also served as a chance for many young athletes to meet Blues players and management for the first time.
Blues high performance manager Tony Hanks said this year’s combine was focused on providing provincial unions with a way to identify players for their own representative programmes.
“It’s an alignment, we’re working together to identify promising players and provide them with opportunities,” said Hanks.
The schools that attended from Northland are:
Dargaville High School
Kamo High School
Whangarei Boys’ High
The schools that attended from North Harbour are:
Massey High School
Takapuna Grammar School
The next combine will be June 4 with Auckland 1B and 1C schools.