Spotlight on locks

Spotlight on locks

We’ve named five locks in our 2016 squad, each player showing remarkable skill in both lineout catches and at the breakdown. We talk to Blues Forwards and Contact Coach Glenn Moore about why each second rower was selected and what they’ll be bringing to the table in the new season.

PATRICK TUIPULOTU

After bowing out of the 2015 Super Rugby season in May as well as his Auckland ITM season for two hip surgeries (developmental defects in his hip and groin), Patty is back into pre-season training and pre-season. Most rugby fans will be rejoicing to see this tall, young lock back into the team environment. He gave fans something to get excited about in 2014 during his debut Blues season, exploding through Super Rugby, making line breaks and earning a spot in the All Blacks.

Coach Glenn Moore, who worked with Patty pre-surgery in 2015, calls the young lock “a fantastic team man with an excellent workrate.”

“Patty handled his injury setback with real maturity and his rehab has gone well, so we’re expecting him to be dynamic this coming season,” said Glenn.

A combination of excellent lineout and scrum work, plus world-class ball carrying, makes Patty one of the most dangerous defensive line-breaker in the competition.

JOSH BEKHUIS

Josh transferred to the Blues in 2015 following a five-year stint with the Highlanders. Glenn worked with Josh during the lock’s first two years in Super Rugby (2009-2010) with the Highlanders, so understands the steely resolve he brings to the second row.

“Josh is very good in his core roles – scrum, kick-off and lineout – but he’s also a really mobile lock,” said Glenn. “He’s an experienced lineout tactician and one of our leaders in this role.”

He is a’s known as one of the most regular starter for the teams he plays for s in the game due to his reliable and consistent performances on the field.

GERARD TUIOTI-MARINER

Gerard started every game during North Harbour’s 2015 ITM Cup campaign, earning a huge amount of playing minutes and a place in the Blues squad for 2016. He had a taste of Super Rugby in 2015 providing injury cover for the Blues and has “certainly earned his selection,” according to Glenn.

He can carry the ball stronglyoffers physicality in the contact area and was ranked 6th in the ITM competition for lineout catches, sitting at 44 over the 10 games. Gerard is known as a quiet worker and is anticipated to continue running from strength to strength in 2016.

HOANI MATENGA

The words used to describe Hoani Matenga are industrious, consistent and a leader. He’s got the values of a leader and a high work ethic, making Hoani a new and exciting face to see on the field this coming season. 

He’s had two seasons in France (Mont de Marsan) and three in Japan (Kubota Spears), which means he’ll offer more than just talent and skill in lineout catches – he was ranked 4th in the ITM Competition for Wellington.

Hoani returned to New Zealand earlier this year to put in a bid for Super Rugby and New Zealand Maori and is already shaping up as a key signing.

SCOTT SCRAFTON

Scott comes from strong stock in the Auckland rugby community. He helped St Kentigern Colleges win the 1A competition and made the NZ Secondary Schools Team in 2011 then followed this up with an NZ Under 20 selection in 2013. For the past two seasons, Scott has been learning and growing in the Auckland Rugby environment, giving Blues selectors an opportunity to see the 2-metre tall lock in action. 

Glenn described Scott as a “solid operator in the set piece,” a player who moves around the paddock well and is often physical in the breakdown.

“Scott really started to mature as a player from the regular ITM Cup game time and we expect him to continue growing while with the Blues.”

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