Ofisa Tonu'u would like to see a return of rucking to speed up and clean up rugby.

Tonu'u is one of the 1996 Super 12 winning Blues players who will enjoy a reunion with some of the side that beat the Natal Sharks, at this weekend's clash between the two sides at Eden Park.

Along with some of the team, Tonu'u said he was touched to present the playing jerseys to the current Blues team at the captain's run at Eden Park.

He remembers that game back in 1996, set-up after the semifinals, when the fourth-ranked Natal beat the challenge of top qualifiers Queensland Reds in the semifinal in Brisbane.


"They played before us and played out of the skins. It suddenly dawned on us that if we won then it would be a home final, something that we had not given any thought to.

"The Sharks were incredible in that amazing win over the Reds and it gave us even more motivation."

The Blues extinguished the challenge from Northern Transvaal 48-11 at Eden Park to set up that thrilling Super 12 final which the home side would win 45-21.

"To be fair the scoreline did not reflect how tight and tough it was. I remember they were hot on attack but turned it over which ultimately resulted in Carlos scoring from the breakout which was a turning point.

"Just after halfime Eroni Clarke's try kicked in on and from that point we took control but it was tight until then.

"The last try by Andrew Blowers was a move we had practiced on the training park the day before and it came off to perfection."

Tonu'u said the major difference in the game is the rules around the tackle ball area.

"With rucking back then you knew that if you lay on the wrong side you would get tagged and recycled out the end of the ruck. So you soon didn't do it. The result was clean and fast ball and few injuries as a result.

"If they went back to that now it would clean up the ruck area. Back then it sorted itself out."

The other difference is the professional game itself.

"We were the first of the pro-rugby brigade and had been working up until then and going to two trainings a week. Now they are amazing with their muscle, speed and power which is the result of doing this 24/7 as a job."

He was touched in joining with teammates in presenting the jerseys to the Blues players.

"That was pretty special. Things have changed for sure. I took my two teenage sons with me and we stood out on Eden Park. It has changed so much but it was a chance to show them what dad did."

As a Blues fan through-and-through Tonu'u hopes the experience and the memory of Kurtis Haiu who passed away this week will spark the Blues to a win over the Sharks.