The Blues class of 2015 has arrived!
The 38 players who make up the Blues squad have arrived at Blues headquarters, marking the beginning of the Blues 2015 Super Rugby campaign.
The team arrived last Thursday to begin an 11-week pre-season with trainings around†the Blues community, including Northland’s Tutukaka and Whangarei.
On December 15, the team will travel up to Tutukaka for a five day training camp, consisting of practice sessions, workouts and time with the Northland community.
Coach Sir John Kirwan described the training camp as an opportunity “to get up to one of the most beautiful parts of the world and play rugby everyday.”
“Northland has been a part of the Blues since day one,” said Kirwan. “Our goal at the Blues is to help all of the ITMs succeed and Northland has had a really good ITM cup season.”
Northland players coming in to the team are fly-half Dan Bowden, who is returning from playing overseas to join both the Blues and the Northland Taniwha; hooker Matt Moulds, who will be in the wider training group; and prop Namatahi Waa, who is a part of the Blues apprentice programme.
This year, the team will be undergoing five days of drills, exercises and fitness training that will help provide a strong foundation heading in to the 2015 Super Rugby season.
And there will be plenty of opportunities for the public to see the team in action. Each day’s training will be open, with opportunities for spectators to watch the team competing in activities outside of their element.
On Tuesday, the team will take part in a competitive round of speed golf, combining skill and accuracy while under pressure. This will be followed by a BBQ with the Blues, providing an opportunity for locals including students from Ngunguru School to meet players and for the team to meet potential future stars of the sport.
Also notable is the team’s training near Toll stadium in Whangarei, site of the pre-season game against the Chiefs on January 29.
Kirwan described the pre-season game as significant, considering the Blues will be playing the Chiefs in their first game of the Super Rugby season on February 14 at QBE Stadium.
“It’s a really important game for us,” said Kirwan. “It’s an important game to see where we’re at before the season.”