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Luatua looks to advance his game

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Sportal.co.nz     18 Feb 2014     Getty Images

It's a long year for any All Black, but Luatua's enthusiasm is not daunted by the year ahead and he is putting his trust in the Blues' medical group to keep him on the straight and narrow through the Investec Super Rugby preliminaries to the year.

"Obviously I'd be keen to play every week but I trust the people around me to make the right calls. If I'm carrying a niggly injury and they tell me to sit out, I will sit out and do what's best for the team, and best for a long career," he said.

Luatua was looking forward to the season and said in spite of the Blues' pre-season form there was plenty of talent in the side and there would be some surprises from the team.

"Last year was definitely a great year for me but it doesn't mean nothing if I don't back it up. I know what I've got to do this year and I'm building towards it. Hopefully I can better what I did last year," he said.

It had been a big year for absorbing information as he advanced each step up the ladder in 2013.

The first, and most valuable, lesson learned was being ready to play, something he picked up from his first starting spot with the All Blacks.

"I took that mentality into every game and that is something I really emphasise because in the All Blacks team anyone can get injured at any time. It is the same thing I try to do here [at the Blues] prepare every week, prepare to try to be the best," he said.

The style of game the All Blacks played suited him because he could 'roam a bit'. He had put his hands in some dark places but he wanted to fine tune his handling skills and improve on his work around the fringes.

While he had been exposed to some of the tougher elements in world rugby, against England and Ireland, the real lessons had come from being among the All Blacks, he said.

"I was able to see the boys alongside me showing the character it takes to be an All Black. The other teams over there had some big boys but I just kept getting up and knocking them down and will have to keep on doing that," he said.