Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Blues' mountain gets higher

After their match against the Crusaders, the Blues are facing more difficulties. Photo / Getty Images
After their match against the Crusaders, the Blues are facing more difficulties. Photo / Getty Images

The Blues have created extra burdens for themselves each week.

After their latest effort against the Crusaders those difficulties have doubled for Saturday's match against the Highlanders at Eden Park.

The Blues fell into their worst fog, losing 59-12 to the Crusaders after falling by just a point to the same side in the season-opener.

Coach Pat Lam acknowledged his side's mental fragility and the challenge in picking a side for Saturday.

"There is that mental barrier - guys who are obviously disappointed - and it is making sure we select the right team to go out and bring energy and enthusiasm and those guys who can step up," he said.

"The Crusaders were well-stocked, clinical - and they took it to us. When you have a team like that they will punish you and once the momentum got going it was difficult to stop."

There was some slim hope that Rudi Wulf or Chris Lowrey might return from the injured list while Benson Stanley was out with concussion and probably would miss the rest of the Super 15 season.

"It is a concern, another concussion and he's had a few now. He has not had one this year, but on the back of last year with Auckland when he had that last one, there is concern.

"The medical team are monitoring that and there are protocols."

Asked if Stanley could be forced to sit out the whole season, Lam said: "There is a good chance, - it is not definite. We just have to prepare, that could be the case."

The All Blacks will return to the group tomorrow. Lam said that at this stage of the season there would be no problems slotting back into the Blues' routines.

Ali Williams, Ma'a Nonu, Piri Weepu and Tony Woodcock would return and be part of the selection for the duel with the Highlanders.

The visitors won tough against the Bulls and would be another awkward rival who would test whatever resolve the Blues had left this season.

- NZ Herald

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 22 Dec 2014 23:53:32 Processing Time: 554ms