BLUES TURN TO BLACK

NZ Rugby World - - The Breakdown -

THERE HAS BEEN A MA­JOR SWAP AROUND WITH FIRST-FIVES IN NEW ZEALAND THAT WILL SEE OTERE BLACK HEAD TO THE BLUES AND IHAIA WEST GO THE OTHER WAY TO THE HUR­RI­CANES.

Black has long been a tar­get for the Blues, who have seen him as a po­ten­tial long term an­swer to their on­go­ing trou­bles with de­ci­sion mak­ing and game man­age­ment.

The for­mer New Zealand Un­der 20 player re­jected the chance to move North in 2015 and in­stead chose to stay in Welling­ton de­spite the fact he was barely win­ning any game time be­hind Beau­den Bar­rett.

The Blues didn’t give up, though, and they came back for him this year and were able to per­suade the 22-year-old to take up their o er.

The Blues were forced into the mar­ket when in­cum­bent, Piers Fran­cis, de­cided to head back to Eng­land and join Northamp­ton.

And not only did they pick up Black, but they have also signed Bryn Gat­land af­ter he im­pressed in a few in­jury-cover out­ings for the Blues ear­lier in the year and then played so well for the New Zealand Pro­vin­cial Bar­bar­ians against the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Li­ons.

“Otere is a young player of con­sid­er­able tal­ent. I had the plea­sure of coach­ing him with the New Zealand Un­der-20s at the World Cup where he played a big part in that win,” Umaga said.

“He is an ac­com­plished first-five and will be a valuable ad­di­tion to our young group of first-fives.

“Bryn im­pressed us when he came into the Blues this year with his abil­ity and a level of ma­tu­rity be­yond his years. He showed with his per­for­mance against the Li­ons that he can rise to the big oc­ca­sion.”

West, who has been with the Blues since 2015, is orig­i­nally from Hawke’s Bay and was de­lighted to make the switch with Black.

OTERE BLACK

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