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
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4