Claiming their second 10-a-side rugby tournament, the Blues Super Rugby side have claimed the preseason Brisbane Global Rugby Tens prize–to the delight of their fans and followers.
In a tightly fought final, the Blues defeated their Wellington rivals, the Hurricanes 10-7. The Auckland side headed into the finals after dominating the competition, but found the ‘Canes to be a tougher challenge, only claiming the $100,000 winners prize in the dying minutes.
— RugbyRedefined (@RedefinedRugby) February 10, 2018
Blues Super Rugby side claim preseason Brisbane Global Rugby Tens prize
Over the weekend, 12 men’s teams from across the rugby globe had played out matches in the heat of Brisbane, Australia. And while the conditions were hard to acclimatize to, the condition of players was key.
Preseason tournaments are about how the sides are progressing towards a bigger prize. The Super Rugby competition begins on February 23: Highlanders v Blues, in Dunedin.
After this weekend, the Blues will be boosted by how well the players operated in the warmth of Queensland, and now have two weeks to finalize their squad before heading south to the covered stadium, Forsyth-Barr Stadium.
The opposition meanwhile had seemed in good form, until a loss to the NSW Waratahs and an upset loss to French Top14 side Pau, denied them any chance at the prize money. That outcome could show how the team are not at their peak however, not all of the first-pick side were included. Facing the ‘Landers at home, will surely be the better indication of how the Blues are trending in 2018.
Best start possible for Blues Super Rugby 2018 hopes
From the result, every Blues fan awakes Sunday with a smile. Not something they have done a lot of in many years. Never making it back up to the heyday of past triumphs, their 2014 win at the World Club 10s was the last piece of silverware claimed by a Blues team.
— Newshub Sport (@NewshubSport) February 10, 2018
Now, the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens trophy can be sat next to the three Super Rugby trophies…..cleaning off the dust of the earlier trophies first. It has been an age since a Blues team held up a major title. So, is this a return to glory?
Too soon. The importance of the Brisbane ‘event’ is less important than any true Super Rugby goal. Some will have shrugged their shoulders, and tended to any bruises and move on. The Highlanders and Waratahs certainly will.
The Hurricanes will also be buoyed by the placing. Beaten 22-0 on Day One by the Crusaders, the ‘Canes turned around that result in the semifinal. Defeating the title holding Christchurch team might be a pseudo-prize but, it is an indicator of performance.
Sides take Positives out of Brisbane Tens results
One team who can be pleased, are the local Queensland Reds. Not being favoured by many, the Brad Thorn coached team managed to raise the Rugby Australia flag on Day Two.
Featuring in the semifinals, defeating the Chiefs side on the way, is their first sample of high-performance since the 2011 Super Rugby title. In the following years, the Reds have dropped down to the lowest level of the competition–so any positives, can be promoted within that franchise.
UPSET OF THE TOURNAMENT!
Queensland Reds are through to the finals of the 2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens after defeating last years champions The Chiefs!
— Brisbane Global Tens (@BrisbaneTens) February 10, 2018
So any side who can see positives, will be embolden by those. The ACT Brumbies had some positives, as did the Crusaders, but some can walk away more pleased then others. And, if your injury count was low, than the positives can carry on leading into the opening matches of Super Rugby 2018.
Return of the King – Carlos Spencer inspires
Hailed then, and hailed now as a champion. Carlos Spencer, the ‘Wildcard’ player for the Blues, has written more rugby folklore to his legend. Returning as a 42 year old, the former All Black played a cameo which benefited the young group.
For a player for Caleb Clark, the Brisbane MVP, he would have been inspired but also challenged by Spencer. The three-time Super Rugby title winner would not have suffered from nerves. He would have taken the games in his stride, and been a motivation from the first day he showed up for training.
— Rich Freeman (@FreemanrugbyJPN) February 9, 2018
And while the ‘return of the King’ is a nice headline, the presence of Spencer will have flow-on benefits that could well help Tana Umaga to put all the pieces together. Faced with losing two leading first-fives, if Bryn Gatland can use the guidance and confidence shown by Carlos Spencer, then the opening weeks of the Super Rugby 2018 might show the rewards on the field Saturday night, could last longer than the ‘after match party’ alone.
Probably the only negative that can be found is that the winning try was scored by George Moala. The former All Black should be heralded but, he is in his final year with the Blues. Even with his class, other centers who are committed to the future of the franchise, should be afforded game time. That underlying discussion, and dissatisfaction at the circumstances, may continue until the last days of Moala’s contract.
Blues Super Rugby season begins on February 23, versus the Highlanders in Dunedin.
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