Blues captain Kaino quietly confident

Date published: December 7 2015

Blues captain Jerome Kaino believes his team can be contenders for the Super Rugby title in 2016 even though there have been plenty of changes at the Auckland-based union.

Although the Blues have new coaching staff, several new inexperienced players and a new competition format to deal with, Kaino doesn't believe they should lessen their expectations.

In previous seasons the abovementioned factors would be viewed as grounds for a rebuilding season but Kaino does not agree with that.

"I don't think so," Kaino told the New Zealand Herald.

"I don't buy this idea that you should ease into things at all. If you can take the title in the first year – take it. 

"Grab it with both hands. That is the mentality we are going to have and it is not just the coach that sets that. Everyone has a role to play in terms of creating the culture and driving that.

I am looking forward to it as the leader of the team and I am sure everyone else is, too."

Although critics will view the Blues' lack of experience as their greatest weakness, Kaino and new head coach Tana Umaga believe it is actually a strength.

There are several players in the current Blues squad who didn't go through the team's struggles in recent years and Kaino feels that will benefit the team.

""They don't have that baggage that a lot of us who have been with the Blues, have," added Kaino.

"They have got a fresh approach to it. They are just going to do what they do and bring what they bring with a lot enthusiasm and desire. And I am sure that is what Tana is going to drill into them as well.

"But in saying that it is a different kettle of fish to ITM Cup. But they will know that as soon as they play their first pre-season game.  I don't want them to hold out at all. 

"I want them to bring everything, express themselves both on the field and off it and help the team go in the right direction."