NZ Rugby World

Three Key Men

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Patrick Tuipulotu, Rieko Ioane, Finlay Christie

The attributes of the first two are well establishe­d – the Blues simply look far better with them on the field (Tuipulotu for his power and leadership and Ioane for his power and pace) - but Christie’s importance to the side cannot be underestim­ated.

The Tasman halfback arrived at the Blues last year with injury issues and took a while to get going, but once he did, he showed how what is described as “lightning quick ball” from the breakdown can transform an attack.

His rivals Sam Nock and Jonathan Ruru are strong and physical players but they don’t have the pass Christie has.

Whoever gets the nod for No 10 at the Blues will have a better time of it with Christie’s delivery, with either

Nock or Ruru ideally suited to being impact players.

Head coach Leon MacDonald coached Christie at Tasman and epitomises everything about what has made the province a success – work-rate and the combinatio­n of a team being greater than the sum of its parts.

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