The next generation of Blues hopefuls get their campaign underway when the Ganellen Blues Under 20s take on their Hurricanes counterparts in Napier on Saturday February 29.
It is the first of three games in the campaign that includes a home and away series against the Chiefs Under 20s.
A wider training group of 42 players from Auckland, North Harbour and Northland have been selected in conjunction with staff from the three provincial unions from the Blues region. The group assembled for three days at the start of February for a training camp in preparation.
“The three days was focused on getting to know eachother, setting goals and agreements and start to put the game plan in place,” said Tony Hanks, Blues General Manager High Performance.
“The players also worked with Blues professional coaches and trained alongside the first team in the build-up to the Waratahs game.
“The players have gelled well and the leadership of players returning from last year has been impressive. The guys are excited to get under way and will finish off preparations for the first game with some practice scenarios with the Auckland Contenders Squad.”
The Ganellen Blues Under 20s will be again coached again by Steven Bates and is joined by Dave Askew who has enjoyed recent success with Marist, Auckland Grammar and the Auckland Under 19s. Grant Wilson will manage the side with the squad for the Hurricanes game to be announced next week.
Meanwhile the Ganellen Blues A team will play two fixtures in March, against the Hurricanes in Wellington and the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The A team will consist of contracted players not selected in the Blues match-day 23 and the best talent from our Provincial Unions.
“The Ganellen Blues A team games give our contracted players valuable quality game time before the club season gets under way properly and also provides an opportunity for players in the region to play and impress at a high level.”
The Ganellen Blues A Team will be coached by Auckland Mitre 10 Cup Coach Alama Ieremia. He will be supported by Blues Scrum Coach Ben Afeaki with Paul Gianotti to manage, and Harley Matthews will provide physio support for both sides
The full Ganellen Development calendar is
Ganellen Blues U20:
Saturday 29 February vs Hurricanes U20, McLeans Park, Napier, 2pm; Saturday 21 March vs Chiefs U20, Manukau RC, 1pm; Saturday 11 April, vs Chiefs U20, St Pauls Collegiate, Hamilton 1pm.
Ganellen Blues A:
Saturday 7 March vs Hurricanes Hunters, Evans Park, Wellington, 1pm; Friday 13 March vs Chiefs Development, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, 4.25pm.