Blues

Nucifora offers Aussies some advice

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Blues coach David Nucifora, facing a number of selection posers ahead of his team’s Super 14 encounter with the Chiefs in Hamilton this coming Saturday, has offered some advice to the struggling Australian franchises.

Instead of explaining how he plans to manage the return of his reconditioned World Cup All Blacks – the likes of Keven Mealamu, Ali Williams and Tony Woodcock – the former Brumbies coach (who won the title with the Canberra-based Brumbies in 2004) instead opted to offer some advice to his compatriots on how to dig themselves out of the hole that Australian rugby has fallen into during the current tournament.

His advice came after the Blues had smashed the wobbly Waratahs 34-6 in Auckland last Friday, a defeat that saw the Waratahs continuing to flounder at second from the bottom on the standings – just ahead of the Reds.

Although the Western Force are in play-off contention and the Brumbies managed to had the Sharks their first defeat of the season, Australian rugby still appears in dire trouble as the tournament passed the halfway mark.

Nucifora said the Aussie teams need to have a long, hard look at their approach to the tournament.

While Nucifora stopped short of suggesting that the Aussies teams’ Super 14 form would affect the Wallabies later this year, he did say they need to come up with something new.

“They need to find a way to score,” he said of the Waratahs – a team that reached the play-off places three times in the last five years and were runners-up in 2005.

“They get lost after a couple of phases. There is not a lot of direction,” he said.

Another aspect of the game that Nucifora thought the Waratahs had gotten wrong was in team selection – opting for big, ball carrying loose forwards instead of openside flanks.

“It was an odd decision not to play an open side flank against us,” Nucifora said.

This, he felt, allowed Blues openside flank Daniel Braid dominate the race to the breakdown.

“Daniel was outstanding and he put so much heat on their ball. It was obvious that he had no one matching him around the park, which made it a lot easier for us,” Nucifora said.

However, Nucifora is facing a couple of interesting selection posers this week, ahead of the Round Nine encounter with the Chiefs.

While Keven Mealamu (hooker) had about 25 minutes of Super 14 rugby, coming off the bench against the Waratahs, two other reconditioned All Blacks – Williams and Woodcock – were sent back to play some club rugby.

Nucifora has given no indication how he plans to reintroduce them.

He did, however, acknowledge that the Chiefs will pose a serious threat to his team this week.

“The Chiefs are sitting there waiting for us. It is no coincidence that some of their best players have been rested for the Reds game,” he said.

 

365 Digital

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