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'We haven't practised this': Blues win but conditions not suited for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in debut

By Sam Smith
(Image by Marty Melville / www.photosport.nz)

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The Blues have come away with a 28-21 win over the Hurricanes in wet conditions in a spectator-free pre-season clash at Rugby League park in Wellington.

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The pre-season hit out at the training base of the Hurricanes was Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s first introduction to top flight rugby union after not being able to play during the last NPC season for Auckland.

That meant extra minutes for the second five eighth as he played over three quarters of the game in trying conditions. It was a match that Blues head coach Leon Macdonald said ‘wasn’t suited’ to Tuivasa-Sheck’s skills as the teams tried to navigate the rain.

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”It was a tough game for all the backs, I thought,” Leon MacDonald said.

“Roger was busy, he was trying to get into the game and I thought he brought some good energy and carried well at times.

“He’s coming off talking about some scenarios in the game that were a bit foreign or new to him, but it’s a good hit-out and I think he’ll be better for it.”

The rain and wind limited his involvement at times and the Blues head coach said that the side hadn’t prepared for a game like that which lead to some new scenarios for his star 12.

“I think those conditions were just so different to what he he has been training, we’ve been training for three or four weeks and this was completely different.

“The game was a different type of game, we haven’t practised this, close quarter combat rugby really.

“Get him on a dry pitch and he will look much more at home, to suit the style of player that he is. ”

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A couple of turnover penalties were work-ons but Macdonald wasn’t prepared to blame just Tuivasa-Sheck, with the supporting players playing a role in trying to secure possession on the ground.

“That’s not always the ball carrier’s fault, often we will look at supporters and their part in that piece but he can definitely help with some of the things like ball placement etc, and how he lands.

“That’s the stuff that he is fine tuning every day and working on. Some things are becoming automatic and some things you got to think about on the go and that is going to take time.”

The Hurricanes raced out to a 14-0 lead early but the Blues were able to make it a one score game by halftime. A late comeback by the Blues and two tries to wing AJ Lam snatched a pre-season victory.

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