The Blues named their Super Rugby Aotearoa squad yesterday - but the franchise left room to add one more player to their mix for 2021. As Liam Napier reports, they are chasing a recent test standout.
The Blues are chasing Pumas midfielder Santiago Chocobares to complete their 2021 Super Rugby squad.
Leon MacDonald's squad curiously had one spot to fill as the New Zealand Super Rugby squads were revealed on Thursday.
Pressed on who that player would be following the squad announcement MacDonald was cagey, saying: "We're doing the final negotiations with that player so hopefully we'll be able to confirm that and that will be a midfielder."
The Herald understands 21-year-old Chocobares, the man with arguably the best last name in the game who spent time with the Auckland Rugby Union academy and has since played two tests for the Pumas this year, is the Blues' intended target.
MacDonald's confirmed squad features three midfielders - TJ Faiane, Rieko Ioane and Tanielu Tele'a, leaving one spot to fill.
Last year the Blues lured former England international Joe Marchant on a one-season exchange from Harlequins, and it seems they are again intent on signing another foreign player, with New Zealand's available midfield talent failing to prove they are ready to make the step up.
With the Jaguares left out in the cold from Super Rugby and instead expected to compete in the Súper Liga Americana de Rugby next year, many Argentine-based players are seeking offshore contracts.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Chocobares made his test debut at second five-eighth in the Pumas' historic upset win over the All Blacks in Sydney last month and he started against the Wallabies the following week.
His silky skills would be a good fit for the Blues but he will be required to complete two weeks quarantine before joining the squad early next year.
New Zealand Rugby also needs to sign off any foreign players, with only one permitted in each position across the five franchises.
MacDonald, meanwhile, remains hopeful of convincing Dan Carter to help the Blues playmakers next season after being unable to persuade the 38-year-old to return in a playing capacity.
"I was pretty relentless with Dan," MacDonald said. "He would have been great because he would have given us that experience that we've lost with Beauden Barrett going around preparation. He's just down the road so I'm hoping we see him around even if it's just with the kickers having some sort of input."