Mealamu backs Lam for Blues coaching job


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Blues hooker Keven Mealamu says that he would be happy to see his Auckland coach Pat Lam at the helm of the Blues Super 14 franchise next year.

The Blues only just missed out on playing in the Super 14 semifinals despite beating the Hurricanes at Eden Park on Friday they are without a coach after David Nucifora has accepted the job of heading the Australian Rugby Union’s high performance unit.

The current favourite to replace Nucifora in the Blues job is Lam after he guided Auckland to victory in the Air New Zealand Cup in 2007, with an unbeaten run.

Mealamu told that Lam knows the players in the Auckland area, which will be crucial as they look to rebuild again after losing some key players at the end of this season.

“I think Pat will do a great job,” Mealamu said.

“We just want someone who could do the job well and I’m pretty sure he could do the job.”

“When you have someone new it brings a fresh challenge, I’ll be looking forward to it.”

Blues CEO Andy Dalton said last week that he expected the new head coach will be appointed in July.

While Mealamu said that he felt that Lam had done enough to earn a chance in the Super 14 he also expected there would be a number of applicants for the Blues job.

“You just never know when it comes to selecting the coach, you don’t know until it’s actually been named – so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Blues have been in debrief mode this week after missing out on the semifinals and Mealamu said he had mixed feelings about the season after the win against the Hurricanes.

“We finished with three good wins, two on the road and one at home.

“Apart from not getting the final result we wanted I thought it was a really good finish to the season.”

“It’s a short competition, so you just have to make the most of your opportunities, all we needed was maybe one more win along the way – we weren’t far off.”

Mealamu added that he enjoyed his encounter with Hurricanes’ hooker Andrew Hore who is thought to be the number one challenger for Keven’s hooker position in the All Blacks’ side to play Ireland and England in June.

“It was tough battle, I had a chat to him after and he was pretty much just like me – we were stuffed after that game.

“I was just happy to get the result for the team for us to finish on a high like that.”

Despite his disappointment at missing the playoffs, Mealamu said he wouldn’t be able to resist watching the all-New Zealand semifinal on Saturday.

“I’ll be watching with a bit of interest, maybe just flicking between the channels to see vital points in the game and check on the scores.

“It’s hard not to be playing, but I’ve got a few mates who are playing these semis so it would be good to watch them and see how they go.”

Mealamu could not be pressed into who he thought would be the victor in the Crusaders vs Hurricanes semi-final match but he did say that he thought the Sharks would find the travel burden too much against the Waratahs in Sydney.

“With the Crusaders it’s always pretty stock-standard, they’ve got all the experience and they know how to handle a big occasion.”

“I think for the Hurricanes, the Crusaders are pretty much their nemesis team, they always seem to be able to pip them.

“It’ll be interesting, but I’m going to sit on the fence.”

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