Queensland Reds announce squad for Japan tour

Northland’s Rush gets Blues team lead

A fresh face with a familiar name is the Blues’ new signing for the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Northland blind third line Rob Rush, son of former All Blacks and Sevens legend Eric Rush, has joined the team for the first time.

Rush attended Saint Kentigern College in Auckland, living and playing in the Blues region with club stints in East Tamaki, East Coast Bays and Kaeo as well as representative level teams in Northland.

In his own way, Rush explained what it means to be selected to his Blues first team.

“I was really excited, but also grateful to be part of the boys for the upcoming season,” Rush said.

“As a newcomer to the team, I can’t wait to uncover the brains of those who have been in the barracks for a while. At the same time, I’m not going to back down from them. I can’t wait for it all to kick off. »

Blues head coach Leon MacDonald said Rush’s selection presented a real opportunity to develop as a rugby player.

“Rob has had a very good season for Northland and has been honing his craft in the Blues area for many years now. He is a real physical presence on the scrum side and has an immense drive and work rate. We are excited to see what he can do in a Super Rugby environment.

MacDonald was also delighted to confirm the remaining names to represent the Blues in 2023 – a team loaded with experience with the All Blacks and Super Rugby.

“The return of a largely stable group is very nice and means that we won’t be starting from scratch, not only from a game point of view, but also from a team culture point of view.”

Rush along with prop, Josh Fusitu’a and outside fullback, Caleb Tangitau are the only new names in the Blues squad for 2023.

Fusitu’a went to school at Auckland Grammar and completed the Blues Development Program. He entered the Blues as a substitute player in 2022, making his debut against Moana Pasifika.

Meanwhile, Tangitau joins the team after representing the All Blacks Sevens team in 2022. He won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and most recently a silver medal at the Rugby World Cup in Sept 2022.

“We injected youth into our ranks, like Rob and Josh in the forwards and Caleb in the backs. The key for these younger team members will be to absorb it all, learn from more experienced players and grow as individuals,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald is also well aware that Blues fans want their team to win the title in 2023.

“Obviously we want to go further, I know the boys will come to Blues HQ ready to hit pre-season with a goal – we know the hard work starts this side of Christmas. last season, so for me as a coach it’s about building on what went well while bringing new thoughts and ideas to the table.

Blues team 2023

Forwards:

Adrian Choat (Auckland), Sam Darry (Canterbury), Kurt Eklund (Bay of Plenty), Josh Fusitu’a (Auckland), Alex Hodgman (Auckland), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Nepo Laulala (Counties Manukau), James Lay (Auckland), Dalton Papalii (Manukau Counties), Taine Plumtree (Wellington), Marcel Renata (Auckland), Ricky Riccitelli (Taranaki), Tom Robinson (Northland), Rob Rush (Northland), Anton Segner (Tasman), Hoskins Sotutu (Counties Manukau), Cameron Suafoa (North Harbour), James Tucker (Waikato), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland), Ofa Tuungafasi (Northland), Soane Vikena (Auckland).

Back :

Beauden Barrett (Taranaki), Finlay Christie (Tasman), Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Corey Evans (Auckland), Taufa Funaki (Auckland), Bryce Heem (Auckland), Rieko Ioane (Auckland), AJ Lam (Auckland), Sam Nock (Northland), Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki), Harry Plummer (Auckland), Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki), Zarn Sullivan (Auckland), Caleb Tangitau (Auckland), Mark Telea (North Harbour), Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland) , Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Auckland)

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