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Blues sign backline trio for Super Rugby in 2018

Melani Nanai on the attack for the Blues

Auckland’s Blues have re-signed the trio of Michael Collins, Matt Duffie and Melani Nanai for the 2018 Super Rugby season and beyond.

Duffie and Nanai have committed to the Blues till the end of 2019, with Collins, 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 quartet of wing/fullbacks responsible for over 40 per cent of the tries in 2017. This 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 head coach Tana Umaga.

“Matt Duffie took time to adjust from rugby league this year has shown to be among the very 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”

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

“Michael Collins come in primarily as a utility player but quickly asserted himself as an excellent fullback in all aspects of the game and is an important communicator, winning the Club Rookie of the year.

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