Blues re-sign key backs

first_imgPhoto by: DIANNE MANSON/GETTY IMAGES Caption: Matt Duffie will reform his back-three combination with Michael Collins for the Blues Next Super Rugby season 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.The numbers support a view that the Blues’ attack had made necessary improvements. They scored 58 tries in 2017 – an increase of more than 30 per cent over the previous year, with the quartet of wing/fullbacks (including Rieko Ioane) responsible for over 40 per cent of them.That was double the number of tries scored by the wing/fullbacks last year.”It is an indication that as a unit we did move forward with more quality ball from the forwards, but also our desire and ability to take advantage both of front-foot possession and of counter-attack opportunities with their outstanding speed and skillset,” said Blues coach Tana Umaga.”Matt Duffie took time to adjust from rugby league but this year has shown to be among the best wings in the competition with his aerial skills and ability to beat players.”Matt has become an important member of our leadership group and club, reflected by winning the Club Person of the Year.”Umaga said Nanai was “an exciting open-field runner” and added that Collins had “quickly asserted himself as an excellent fullback in all aspects of the game”.Said the Blues coach: “Collectively this trio, along with Rieko, enjoyed an excellent season and we believe all will take another step forward in 2018 and beyond.”last_img

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