Blues to build on lineout tactic

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Lynn McConnell     27 Feb 2015     Getty Images

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan told on Thursday that he and assistant coach Glenn Moore sat down and discussed the best way to defuse the lineout maul and came up with a manipulation of the law which saw the Blues back off competing with the Stormers when they tried the lineout tactic.

"If you don't contest the maul, and the opposition attempt to transfer the ball to the back of the maul, they put the players in front off-side, or accidentally off-side.

"It gained us some turnovers last week and we will look to mix that tactic up a bit more in the future," he said.

Kirwan added that the Blues, like other sides, had been made aware that Sanzar referees' boss Lyndon Bray had written to all teams advising they were going to crack down on scrums this weekend.

Kirwan said the Blues were happy with that as they had found some teams were not as positive at scrum as they might be.

The game in Bloemfontein on Friday, (Saturday morning NZT) was a must-win for the Blues.

"They [his players] are acutely aware that we need to get in the winners' circle if we are going to feature on the leader board," he said.

The effort to get All Black Charles Piutau playing more of an attacking role for the side continues with his naming at centre. Kirwan said this was something that had been on the cards for 18 months or so and the time was right to make the move.

"We want to have Charles get more ball in the hand. Francis Saili will come off the bench to give more impact while Melani Nanai will make his debut on the right wing," he said.

Kirwan described Nanai as a special player who stood out for the Auckland Under-20s against Wellington last year and was the Auckland development player of the year.

"He is absolutely fearless in contact and defence and is the fastest player in our team. He will give us energy, especially on the chase line which you need on the veldt," he said.

All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and lock Patrick Tuipulotu will have their first starts of the year after working their way back into the system. They had made good contributions coming off the bench and they had brought energy to training during the week.