Luatua steps up to the plate

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:10
Large steven luatua Large jerome kaino media Large steven luatua2 Large jerome kaino cheers Large steven luatua3

When All Black enforcer Jerome Kaino left the Blues at the end of last year to play in Japan, his void appeared impossible to fill.

When All Black enforcer Jerome Kaino left the Blues at the end of last year to play in Japan, his void appeared impossible to fill.

An 85-match veteran for the Blues over nine years and the most devastating No.6 in the world, Kaino was irreplaceable.

Well, almost.

They are certainly huge boots to fill, but so far his young understudy Steven Luatua is making a great fist of it and has stepped up to the mark incredibly this season.

After earning four caps as injury cover in a disastrous campaign last year, Luatua has been an integral part of the Blues' campaign this season as he continues to improve with each performance.

A strong and powerful runner with the ball in hand, a solid defender and a hard grafter, Luatua said he absorbed so much advice from Kaino and credited him for the big strides he has taken in his game.

"I learned so much from Jerome, just the way he played and the way he carried himself," Luatua said.

"In my first few games last year the advice he gave me was just to focus on carrying strong and tackling hard, and in those important moments when things are going rough, particularly last year, it really helped."

A former New Zealand Secondary Schools and Under-20 representative, the drums are now beating for Luatua to push on to higher honours with the All Blacks.

However the incredibly modest 21-year-old brushed aside those suggestions and insisted his only focus was on playing well for the Blues, personifying the team's mantra ‘better never stops'.

"I just want to go out there and play six for the Blues," he said.

"That's my job right now and to retain that jersey for next week as well but it's about doing the business on the weekend first so I'll just focus on that.

"I'm OK with the way I'm tracking right now but I don't want to be just OK, I want to be great. There's still plenty of room for improvement and I'm looking to push on from there, not rest on my laurels and try to keep getting better."

Luatua faces one of the toughest challenges of the season on Saturday night against an impressive Hurricanes loose forward trio featuring Ardie Savea, Faifili Levave and Brad Shields.

With thanks to the Blues media unit

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4