Investing

Blues continue investing in development after re-signing backline trio | 1 NEWS NOW

Coach Tana Umaga says the Blues are investing in the future by re-signing the exciting back trio of Michael Collins, Matt Duffie and Melani Nanai.

Melani Nanai makes a run against the Cheetahs.

Source: Photosport

Duffie and Nanai have committed to the Blues until the end of 2019, with Collins – who originally signed for just one year – extending his stay for a further season.

The Blues scored 58 tries this season, an increase of more than 30 per cent over the previous year, with this combination of wing/fullbacks responsible for over 40 per cent of the tries in 2017.

“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,” Umaga said.

Duffie took time to adjust from rugby league but had shown himself to be among the very best wings in the competition with his aerial skills and ability to beat players, he added.

“Melani Nanai is a local Auckland player who has come through the club ranks as an exciting open field runner,” Umaga said.

“Michael Collins came in primarily as a utility player but quickly asserted himself as an excellent fullback in all aspects of the game.

“Collectively this trio, along with Rieko Ioane, enjoyed an excellent season and we believe all will take another step forward in 2018 and beyond.”

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