Blues add exciting duo to squad

    2016-10-15 09:11

    Cape Town - The Blues have announced that versatile backs Stephen Perofeta and Michael Collins have signed for the franchise for Super Rugby 2017.

    Teenage flyhalf Stephen Perofeta, originally from Wanganui but playing for Taranaki, and Otago utility Collins have both inked contracts.

    Both players have represented New Zealand at age grade level, Schools and/or New Zealand Under-20, and have impressed in 2016's Mitre 10 Cup.

    Perofeta, 19, is a player for the future, and joins established pivots Ihaia West and Piers Francis at the Blues. He was a finalist for Heartland player of the year in 2015 after his debut for Wanganui as a schoolboy, scoring more than 100 points before scoring 58 points in three games for the NZ Heartland XV.

    He moved to Taranaki and was selected for the NZ Under-20s for the World Rugby U20 Championship.

    "He is a young player who is achieving beyond his years and we believe is an outstanding prospect for the future," coach Tana Umaga told the Blues website. 

    "We've been watching Stephen for some time and believe he has the attributes we need and the maturity even at his age to make a real contribution to the Blues.

    "First five has been a priority position for the past two seasons and we have been working closely with some exciting young first fives coming through in the region, but they are not yet ready to blood at Super level."

    Collins, 23, is formerly from Queenstown before moving to Dunedin where he captained Otago Boys and was selected for the NZ Schools in 2011 and New Zealand Under-20s in 2013.

    He moved to the Otago team and last year spent the off-season playing for Llanelli in the Welsh competition as injury cover before returning for the Mitre 10 Cup.

    Collins is a utility who can play midfield or in the back three, and has made his mark this year at fullback.

    "Michael is another to come through the national age group system. We believe he has the speed and skills required to cover a number of backline positions and will be a real asset to the Blues," said Umaga.

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