Blues target improved set piece

Date published: March 10 2016

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The Blues' starting pack will be boosted by the inclusion of All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina, but skipper Jerome Kaino is adamant it will take an eight-man effort to lift their set-piece work.

The Blues were dominated in the scrums during the 28-13 Super Rugby defeat to the Crusaders last weekend, a result which left them at 1-1 ahead of their round-three clash against the Hurricanes in Auckland on Friday night.

Faumuina, who nursed a hamstring issue during the pre-season, was eased back with appearances off the bench over the first two weekends.

Kaino says his fellow World Cup-winner made a definite impact in his 40 minutes against the Crusaders.

"But for us, it's not about one man – it's about an eight-man scrum and an eight-man lineout," he said.

"We all need to buy into that. Having him starting this weekend is huge. He adds a lot to the pack and hopefully we can all feed off that."

The loss to the Crusaders was a dampener after the Blues had knocked over the defending champion Highlanders in the opening round.

However, Kaino is confident the team is heading in the right direction under new coach Tana Umaga.

It was a matter of the players trusting the systems and not having a knee-jerk reaction to situations.

Faumuina's move into the No.3 jersey is one of nine changes – seven in personnel and two positional – that Umaga has made to the Blues' starting 15 to counter the different challenge the Hurricanes' more expansive style poses.

Among the others is Steven Luatua's move from the back of the scrum to lock, with impressive youngster Akira Ioane being promoted from the bench to number eight.

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