Mealamu to miss Blues Super Rugby opener

All Black and Blues hooker Keven Mealamu will miss his team’s Super Rugby opener against the Highlanders but he has no complaints about making a delayed start.

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan plans to start veteran All Black hooker and prop Tony Woodcock in the Blues second Super Rugby match which is against the Crusaders.

Mealamu says that he would like to play against the Highlanders but he also sees the logic in Kirwan’s plan to rest him for the opening round.

“It’s hard not being out there, but that opportunity to get our bodies in better nick for what is going to be a long Super season, it’s a good opportunity for us,” said Mealamu at the NZ season launch.

Mealamu will be playing in his 14th season of Super rugby and next month he will turn 35 so he knows about pacing himself.

The All Black hooker says that he believes it is a lesson that could also be applied to the Blues after they started well in 2013 but lost momentum in their final six matches.

“It was disappointing that we couldn’t finish with that same excitement that we started with … It’s a marathon, you need to make sure you keep that energy all the way through the competition and even lift it for the playoffs.”

In 2013 Mealamu was rested for the first three matches of the Blues campaign and when he did return he had a battle for game time with James Parsons who had played in his absence. A series of calf problems didn’t help.

In the end Mealamu played just nine matches in total for the Blues in 2013 and averaged only 40 minutes in each match.

All Black coach Steve Hansen also managed Mealamu’s game time as he played in the ests against France and England and was substituted in both. He missed the match against Ireland as Andrew Hore and Dane Coles Hansen played.

Mealamu said that the All Blacks end of year tour which finished with the perfect ending of 14 wins from 14 tests, was partly responsible for his optimism.

The Blues will finish their season with a tough three-match series against the Force in Perth, Crusaders in Christchurch, and Chiefs in Auckland – Mealamu hasn’t looked that far ahead.

“I know we’ve got a couple of derbies then we’re off to South Africa. We’re hoping to get a good start and head off to Africa in the best nick we can,” he told APNZ.

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