Blues sign Crusaders flank

Wed, 12 Sep 2012 13:34
Large brendon o connor crusaders Large john kirwan at eden par630k

The Blues have signed Crusaders flank Brendon O'Connor and Southland outside back Marty McKenzie.

The Blues have signed Crusaders flank Brendon O'Connor and Southland outside back Marty McKenzie to join the squad for the 2013/14 Super Rugby seasons.

Both players have come through the New Zealand age-group system, with previous impressive performances for the NZ Under-20 team.

Blues head coach John Kirwan believes it's important to explore the wealth of young talent on offer and prepare them for Super Rugby.

"This last season, I think it was the young guys who really stole the show across the New Zealand franchises and we saw the coming of age for some pretty special rugby players," said Kirwan.

Currently playing for Southland, McKenzie (20) has had a strong start to his NPC campaign and Kirwan likes what he sees.

"Marty is a young player who we've been watching for a while. He has stacks of talent and I believe giving him the opportunity to step up to Super Rugby level at the Blues will see him flourish."

McKenzie is excited about his first move to Auckland to join the Blues under the new coaches and be part of their 2013 campaign.

"It's an awesome opportunity to be coached by the new Blues coaching staff and I want to be part of the Blues in this rebuilding phase which could be the start of something pretty great."

O'Connor (23), who has had two years in the Crusaders camp, is a loose forward who Kirwan believes has shown a lot of potential and deserves time on the paddock to develop that.

"He's a strong and mobile player, with a solid defensive game and we are keen to get our hands on him to develop his Super Rugby ability within our squad," said Kirwan.

O'Connor is currently recovering from knee surgery sustained during a club rugby match but Kirwan said he will hit the ground running when the Blues assemble in December and will be fully involved in pre-season hit outs.

"I've had a couple of conversations with JK and I really liked what he had to say. This is exciting times and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity at the Blues," said O'Connor.

Another player secured for the Blues future is Auckland tighthead prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi. The 20-year-old has an impressive rugby CV for one so young and is performing well for Auckland in this season's NPC.

"Ofa is one for the future. Having come through Auckland Rugby's development programme, he has represented the union and the Blues franchise in age-group and development sides, and his progress at provincial level is pretty exciting," Kirwan explained.

Tu'ungafasi has signed with the Blues for the 2014/15 seasons.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28