Pulu to lead the Blues in 2018

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Lynn McConnell     01 Dec 2017     Getty Images

Coach Tana Umaga made the announcement at a Blues training session on Friday saying that with veterans Jerome Kaino and James Parsons both sidelined for some time as a result of respective surgeries they had undertaken, he wanted the Blues captain to take charge from day one of training.

Umaga said now the decision had been made it been accepted through the club. He and Pulu had experience from Umaga's time at Counties Manukau.

The choice of Pulu occurred after the Blues had gone through their usual review process.

"He's passionate about what he does and the club and the vision that we have and where we want to head to. He invokes support within the group," he said.

Umaga said with the diversity in ages in the Blues that ability to communicate to work with all ages was important not only in the immediate future but in the longer term because it all contributed to developing the future leaders.

He was expecting Pulu to thrive with the extra responsibility.

"He doesn't shirk those duties, especially when it comes to on-field leadership," he said.

It also helped that with previous Blues captains Parsons and Kaino were experienced players who could assist him in the leadership role.

Pulu said he wasn't sure initially that Umaga was being serious when raising the prospect of captaincy with him.

"The second time I met with him it finally hit me. It's a privilege and it's an honour to lead this club and right across the team we've got leaders. I'm not going to be here for myself, I'm expecting everyone to be here side by side with me," he said.

"It's a good challenge for us to really turn things around as a club."

Pulu said he wasn't going to change a lot in his game but there was a desire to improve performance to take advantage of critical moments in games in 2018.

With the hunt on for a No.3 halfback for the All Blacks, Pulu said regaining an All Blacks jersey was still a motivation for him.

"I just want to make sure I do my job for the Blues as best I can. I've got a role to play and I really want to focus on that and just let that unfold by itself," he said.