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Formed in 1996, the Blues met immediate success in Super Rugby’s earliest format, winning two consecutive titles in its first two years of Super 12 competition. While the Auckland-based franchise boasts the greatest catchment area for a New Zealand side, and despite winning three championships, there exists a common conception that the side underperforms most years.
The Blues’ status as the easybeats of New Zealand continued in 2018, with just four wins across the season leaving the side at the bottom of the conference standings. They ended up finishing 14th overall, and were the only Kiwi side not to qualify for the finals.
Despite some strong acquisitions in the offseason, a perceived lack of depth and chronic game mismanagement issues have most predicting another long year for the Blues.
Coach: Leon MacDonald
Captains: Blake Gibson, Patrick Tuipulotu
2018 finish: 5th New Zealand conference, 14th overall
Titles: 1996, 1997, 2003
Blues 2019 Super Rugby squad
Blake Gibson (c), Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Leni Apisai, Alex Hodgman, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Sione Mafileo, Matt Moulds, James Parsons, Marcel Renata, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Josh Goodhue, Jacob Pierce, Scott Scrafton, Jed Brown, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Tom Robinson, Hoskins Sotutu, Jimmy Tupou, Sam Nock, Augustine Pulu, Jonathan Ruru, Otere Black, Stephen Perofeta, Harry Plummer, Levi Aumua, TJ Faiane, Ma’a Nonu, Tanielu Tele’a, Sonny Bill Williams, Caleb Clarke, Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Melani Nanai, Jordan Trainor