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Vern Cotter's simple blueprint to take down Fijian Drua

Vern Cotter's simple blueprint to take down Fijian Drua

All BlacksFebruary 23, 2024

New Blues coach Vern Cotter is looking for his players to establish control in their play when they sit their first DHL Super Rugby Pacific test against the Fijian Drua in Whangārei on Saturday.

Gaining control and adapting quickly to game situations would be crucial because the Drua would throw things at the Blues that they were unprepared for.

Cotter said things could come off for the Drua that wouldn't work for other teams.

"So, with that unpredictability, we will need to adapt and connect very quickly. I want to see the team function and stay alive in all moments of the game, good and bad.

"We need to see three or four good moments strung together, and then string together another three."

Having worked with the Fijian national team, Cotter said they knew how good they could be. They have had a more extended pre-season than the Blues have had.

"It's just about being accurate and constant and having the necessary concentration to put them under pressure because, if we don't, we'll give them a bit of space and time, and they'll hurt us."

Knowing coach Glenn Jackson well, and with their other coaches having experience, they would have worked on something to apply to the Blues.

He knew the individual players and their traits and what they would want to do against the Blues.

Round one kicks off TONIGHT 🤩

Who have you got winning this weekend?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/UwKU2bwIbn

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 22, 2024

"We've got to be ready for everything. That's the key to rugby these days.

"It is important to hit the ground running, to put an early stake in the ground and make a statement about how you want to go. It's about performance.

"We don't expect everything to be right, but we've got things we want to put in place, and we've got a good team out on the paddock. We're very focused on starting the season well.

"I don't think you want to play Fijian rugby against them, they're the best in the world at that. So we are looking to play a brand of rugby that suits us and suits the team we're playing again. So it is finding what they don't like and giving them everything they don't like."

Cotter was confident his halfback and first five-eighths combination of Finlay Christie and Stephen Perofeta were ready to take charge. They had worked for the pre-season on how they connect, their cohesion, and the cohesion with the team overall.

"The guys have been put in some difficult situations and they've had to adapt to it, and that's helped them come together."

There was also a role for the forwards to play in helping them.

Cotter said he had a good look at locking debutant Josh Beehre during the Bunnings NPC, and he was the type of forward he liked.

"He pushes hard in scrums, works hard in all the tight places, and those dark places we talk about. He can defend and cover the ground, and he's got a good carry on him. And he's only a boy; he's only coming through, so he's done enough.

"He complements Sam Darry so we're excited to see what he does this weekend."

Always keep your receipts 😉#SuperRugbyPacific kicks off TONIGHT! 🥳

Where are you watching from? pic.twitter.com/6i6BoPNX0T

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 22, 2024

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