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Blues face injury concerns following Moana Pasifika victory

Blues face injury concerns following Moana Pasifika victory

All BlacksApril 3, 2024

Injury concerns from their 47-8 win over Moana Pasifika have the Blues keeping a lid on their share of second place in DHL Super Rugby Pacific ahead of their Friday game with the Force at Eden Park.

No sooner back from a broken jaw, captain and lock Patrick Tuipulotu and second five-eighths Bryce Heem suffered head knocks while first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta left the field with a shoulder injury.

Coach Vern Cotter said Tuipulotu and Heem failed their HIAs, and with a six-day turnaround, they would need to dig deep into their squad resources.

Heem had a powerful display before leaving the field.

"I was just saying [in the coaches' box] he wasn't doing much, then he runs right through the middle of the whole pack and scores between the posts, and then puts good things on top of good things."

Hoskins Sotutu also received praise for moving from No8 to midfield, conceding nothing while filling that role.

"He got a turnover and set up a pass and a try. That's outstanding. It's good that the boys are able to adapt and work around those types of scenarios, and we're going to have to work around some more next week."

Cotter said that while there was a wide margin in the score, it still wasn't a perfect performance for the Blues.

"It took us a while to settle and we probably pushed a couple of passes. There was good attitude in our carry, and line breaks have followed. I was pleased with some of the link play that was done – just draw and pass, nice, simple stuff."

Yet Moana Pasifika caused them some problems at the breakdowns.

Is your team celebrating Easter with a win? 🐰🍫#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/TCWSQS7mDr

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 30, 2024

"We had to work hard, and sometimes we were too slow getting there.

"There are things around our game that we'll need to improve next week against the Force because they're also very active at the breakdown.

"I'm happy with the scored, [and] pleased the players got out there and scored some points, and the defence was reasonably good, except for a couple of times when we gave them easy outs, so they were happy."

While pleased with the hat-trick of tries achieved by wing Mark Tele'a, Cotter said the performances were good across the side.

But Tele'a's and Heem's efforts represented how better they were getting with game time.

Hooker Ricky Riccitelli, who played his 100th Super Rugby game, said getting points on the board pleased him most about his milestone game.

"We've had to work hard for it. We knew Moana would come out physically and pressure us at the breakdown.

"We probably took a while to get into the game in that sense, but we wore them down and ended up putting some points on the board."

How's your team looking after six rounds of #SuperRugbyPacific action? ↕️ pic.twitter.com/D2Enbb0keA

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 31, 2024

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