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'He might not do the brilliant things': Blues halfback tipped as All Blacks starter

By Ben Smith
Finlay Christie of the Blues passes the ball during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Blues at Eden Park, on March 30, 2024, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Cam Roigard’s leg injury suffered against the Highlanders is expected to be serious, leading to potentially six months on the sidelines which would change the equation for the All Blacks.

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The No 9 was one of the leading candidates to take over the starting job from Aaron Smith, showing impressive form for the undefeated Hurricanes.

If Roigard is out of the picture, that places Blues halfback Finlay Christie at the the top of the list to take the jersey according to former All Black Jeff Wilson and The Breakdown panel.

“You know what you’re going to get. He holds his form,” Wilson told The Breakdown panel on Sky Sport NZ.

“Now it might not be spectacular, he might not do the brilliant things – but the fundamentals, the competitiveness, the accuracy you need out of him… kicking game’s good, passing game is good.

“It’s nice to know that if you had to … not fall back, but look at what his skillset is, he does the fundamentals of a halfback really well.”

During last year’s Rugby World Cup former head coach Ian Foster’s coaching group preferred Christie over Roigard during the knockout stages, selecting him on the bench.

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The reasoning offered at the time was Christie’s defensive game was what gave him the edge when it came to selection.

This year a number of young halfbacks have impressed including Folau Fakatava of the Highlanders and Cortez Ratima of the Chiefs. Veteran TJ Perenara has impressed after coming back from a long injury layoff.

But The Breakdown panel urged Robertson to go with Christie with Sir John Kirwan echoing Wilson’s view.

“I think he’s spectacular because of all the things you mentioned,” Kirwan said.

“He doesn’t really have a weakness – he can defend, he’s got a really good pass, he can kick, he can dart when he needs to, and he’s our current incumbent.

“I’d have no trouble if he started as our test halfback, if we were playing next week. I think he’s the first name down at the moment.”

 

 

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Comments

7 Comments
J
Jasyn 101 days ago

Well admittedly he came to NZ when he was 7, but frankly Scotland would be welcome to Christie instead of trying to pinch Fergus Burke.

Lord knows Scotland has enough foreigners in their squad, but at least there would actually be a tangible Scottish link there for a change. Christie shouldn't be anywhere close to an ABs squad, let alone starting.

T
T-Bone 101 days ago

Emotion aside, Christie is a decent player
No special talents but a reliable player

But if Razor is building a team he needs to do better than reliable

As others have mentioned there are players with more talent or more potential already playing

I fear Christie might start though now as the “safe bet”

For me I would go TJ and Fakatava

Hotham as the dark horse if he carries on this year over the glacial OAP Heinz

J
Jacinda 101 days ago

Christie panicks when he gets the ball, he can’t read the game like Roigard. I’d get Aaron smith back from Japan (if they changed the ruling) and also have TJ as support

D
David 101 days ago

“He doesn’t really have a weakness”. Well, apart from slow to the breakdown, indecisive and slow passing. Hardly a problem in a halfback! How he played ahead of Weber and Roigard etc is a mystery? He’s a big hearted player but so are many club players.

A
Andrew 101 days ago

NO! Emphatically NO! He isnt in the top 5 of the 9s in this country. Id even have the small loose forward TJ Perenara ahead of him. Thank God Wilson isnt a selector.

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