Storms threaten Blues' clash with Queensland

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:35 29/01/2013

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The Blues' pre-season match against the Reds is in the hands of Queensland's weather gods as the Australian state struggles to cope with the deadly storms causing wide-spread flooding and damage.

The Auckland franchise are due to travel on Friday for the clash in Toowoomba. Coach Sir John Kirwan said they were in regular contact with Queensland officials and no plans were in place to cancel the match at this stage.

"First of all, our thoughts go out to all the people who are struggling over there. Let's hope they are safe and can sort their lives out and we'll worry about sport after that," Kirwan said.

"If we have to cancel, we have to cancel... it's just one of those things. But we've heard where we are going is OK. Apparently Toowoomba hasn't been affected. But we will let them (Queensland rugby) make those decisions."

The Blues have entered the next phase of pre-season work with their All Blacks joining the ranks this week. However, captain Ali Williams, Charlie Faumunina and Piri Weepu won't be making the trip across the Tasman.

Kirwan says they still need time to adjust to the new systems being put in place and will be filtered in to the team over the subsequent two trial matches against the Waratahs in Whangarei and the Highlanders in Queenstown.

"The next three games are about making sure we have a clear understanding on how we want to play. It's really about the process and making sure we are completely ready for the first competition game," Kirwan said.

He backed his young squad to get the sort of results required from the Queensland match despite the absence of stars.

"There has been a lot of information... an overload of it since Christmas. Now it's time to play. That's what we've said: get excited and play.

"It's a great opportunity from some of the other players. It's not about who wins or loses a preseason match. It's about putting into play what we have been doing. People are chomping at the bit to play."

The Blues will name their first line-up of the season on Thursday.

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- Fairfax Media

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