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Blues lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti was in excellent form as his team opened Trans-Tasman Super Rugby in style.
In-form Blues lock, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, is determined to make every game count as he spends his time at the Auckland Super Rugby franchise.
The 28-year-old lock confirmed at Thing that this Trans-Tasman Super Rugby campaign would be his last for the Blues before he left to seize an offshore opportunity. His intended destination was “still pending”, but it is understood that he is well advanced in talks to replace All Black Brodie Retallick with the Kobelco Steelers in Japan.
But the 1.96m, 112kg workhorse is unwilling to discuss his next assignment at this point, other than to confirm that this competition will be his last in New Zealand for now.
The Blues picked up a 50-3 victory over the Melbourne Rebels to kick off the new competition in style.
“The intention is to go overseas,” he said, confirming he was out of contract once this two-part Super season is over.
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Kobe, if that is indeed his destination, is replaced by their All Black star if Saturday night’s 50-3 win to open the competition at the Melbourne Rebels is anything to say. Cowley-Tuioti was exceptional in a dominant Blues field, leading all forwards on both teams in meters with 43 out of five points.
He and Josh Goodhue were then awarded forwards coach Tom Coventry for impressive effort in set pieces and on the pitch. Goodhue pulled off all nine tackles, they were key characters in a scrum and roster that caught on and they both showed their skills in the loose stuff.
The Blues continue their Trans-Tasman campaign on Saturday with their home opener against the hapless Waratahs at Eden Park (kick off at 4:35 p.m.). They are not bookmaker favorites, although the Kiwi outfit does everything possible to exclude any discussion that this would be a deceptive type outing.
Cowley-Tuioti said the Blues’ six-down performance was exactly what the doctor ordered following the disappointing Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign where they went 4-4 and missed a place in the final.
âWe deserved it. We played in the right parts of the pitch, the full-backs put us in the right parts of the pitch and we put our energy to good use in the forwards, âhe said. âWe felt we had a lot of energy, our defense and our save went well and the full backs got a good winning line. Overall we went well.
âWe knew we had to fight for everythingâ¦ we were able to put the pressure on and keep it up, and we also had to defend pretty hard for those phases when they were on our line. We got the ball back and managed to score in the end [of the first half], saw that pressure build and I guess it worked in our favor.
There is a real spring in the stage of the Blues this week as they work in a competition which is very focused on atonement.
âIt means everything to us,â Cowley-Tuioti said of this short, pointed trans-Tasmanian element. âWe have a second chance, which is good. We weren’t very happy with the way we went in Super Rugby Aotearoa, and we have another chance.
It’s an interesting competition in that regard, with the five Kiwi franchises only meeting the five Australian franchises in the round robin. It’s generally expected to be an all-Kiwi final on June 19, and you just might need five wins to get there if things go as planned.
“We can’t take any game for granted,” said Big Lock, immediately dismissing any suggestion the Waratahs were cannon fodder after giving up 64 points to the Sydney Hurricanes. âWe play every game like it’s a final. These bonus points are crucial, and we just have to stick with our game. If we can perform like we did against the rebels and build that momentum, I think we should get there.
With All Blacks locked in Patrick Tuipulotu and loose striker Dalton Papalii back in the selection mix this week, Leon MacDonald has excellent depth at his disposal against a team that failed to win a game in 2021.
But Cowley-Tuioti said his side paid more attention to the 48 points the Tahs scored against the Canes than they did in 10 tries conceded.
âWe can’t take any game lightly, and we have to win it all,â he said. âWe are ready for this competition. It’s not too often that you get a second chance, and it’s definitely a spring in our footsteps. “
For nothing more than the great second rower determined to make every moment count in this latest campaign for his local franchise.