The Blues coaching group, led by new Head Coach Leon MacDonald, have today confirmed shared captaincy for the 2019 season.
Co-Captains Blake Gibson and Patrick Tuipulotu will share the role of leading the Blues team for the upcoming Investec Super Rugby season.
The pair have proven captaincy experience in the Mitre 10 Cup, having recently helped to lead their Auckland side to a Championship title in 2018.
MacDonald sees value in having the captaincy shared by two players with proven leadership success and who the Club holds in high regard.
“It is a real benefit to have two players of this calibre who are from our region and are so committed to the Club and the people we represent,” said MacDonald.
“Blake and Patrick, together with all our 2019 squad and management group, are hungry for success and these two will get the team following them both on and off the field.”
Gibson has now been with the Blues for four Super Rugby seasons, having progressed through the Blues development programme and being a former NZ U20s standout. He has amassed a total of 30 Blues caps in his time with the club and was a strong contender for the All Blacks end of year tour for the last 2 years had it not been for injuries.
Tuipulotu made his Blues debut against the Highlanders in 2014 and has gone on to play 53 times for the Club, despite being frustrated with injuries over that time. At just 25 years old, Patrick is a senior Blues player and was one of the form players on the recent All Blacks end of year tour.
He is a quietly spoken leader who brings an immense desire to lead the team to success. Patrick has grown in his leadership roles with Auckland, the Blues and recently within the All Blacks.
“Both Blake and Patrick are hungry to lead the Blues to success in 2019 and we are excited by the strong values, skills and experience they bring to the group,” said MacDonald.
Patrick and his fellow All Blacks team members are currently on leave following the Northern Tour whilst the rest of the 2019 squad are into their second week of preseason training. The team will train until Friday 21stDecember when they will take some time over the festive period to spend with family and friends. Preseason training resumes on 7 January and the All Blacks will join the squad in late January before the Blues opening game of the 2019 Super Rugby season against the Crusaders at Eden Park on Saturday 16 February.