Tuivasa-Sheck ready to get 'into the groove'

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Blues assistant coach Tom Coventry believes the former league star is ready for the assignment.

"He's looking really good. All through pre-season he's been fantastic, the ultimate professional, a sponge for information," he said.

He will be flanked by first five-eighths Harry Plummer and Rieko Ioane at centre.

"He's desperate to get everything right, and it's just enabling him to be good and having the confidence going in. He's done the work, the preparation, and he's very motivated.

"He's had a long time away from the game, and he's just got to work himself into the groove," Coventry said.

Plummer has been preferred to Stephen Perofeta, who provides cover on the bench for first five-eighths and fullback.

Plummer had a leadership role for the side.

"He's been very influential in managing our team through the pre-season games, and it was a good fit to continue on in that role," he said.

However, the side has suffered some injury setbacks. All Blacks Dalton Papalii, the team captain, and No8 Akira Ioane were available. Papalii had a head knock in training while Ioane has broken his ankle.

"It's going to be a little while before we can get him back on the grass. We're not quite sure what that's going to look like, but it will be a couple of weeks at least," Coventry said.

Another not considered was All Blacks' first five-eighths Beauden Barrett, although he is close to returning.

"Beauden has been training fully, running our second team and planning all the attack against us during the week. He looks to be over the issue he had with the head knock on the end of year tour."

Captain for the game, flanker Tom Robinson has been impressed with former Crusader and All Black lock Luke Romano's approach since joining the squad. He said he called him the Tyson Fury.

"He's not a chiselled athlete, but when he gets in there he goes and goes. He's got that same attitude. When he speaks there's little gems you can tell he's picked those up in the years he's played. It's great to have a senior leader like that," he said.

Going up against the Hurricanes, who are coming off a tough game with the Crusaders in their opening game, the Blues were confident they could step up after their game with Moana Pasifika was postponed.

"Robinson said, "It would've been nice to have had that first hit-out, but we've adapted well.

"It has given us a bit of time to iron out a few creases. We've talked about that change of mindset going into the first game, having that ruthless attitude," he said.


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