The Top 10 - Blues

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James Mortimer     23 Mar 2014     Getty Images

1. Simon Hickey is by kicking numbers among the best in the business so far in the competition, a pleasing return for a player plucked from the wider training group and now apparently the Blues first choice number ten – his 94% kicking rate gives support to this fact.

2. 160 points in five matches represents a conceded column only ‘bettered’ by, somewhat ironically, the Cheetahs who reside in 15th place in this catagory. 32 points per match is something the coaching staff will want to amend.

3. When an All Blacks incumbent begins roaring to show his enthusiasm for a decision or play you know he may be hitting form, and Steven Luatua’s growing presence will be required in a competition not lacking for power players.

4. With 17 tries the Blues are the best try scoring team in the competition.

5. Two players who have had a significant impact on All Blacks fortunes made their return tonight, and while Ma’a Nonu and Jerome Kaino had relatively quiet outings, the Blues will be better for their presence on and off the field.

6. The Blues scored four tries against the Cheetahs, and ran less than 50 metres per try, close to a season record for a single fixture, the hosts 195 metres compared to the Free Staters 413 metres run, it wasn’t the only odd stat – Sir John Kirwan’s team only broke the line once.

7. Charles Piutau continues to hold court with Israel Folau and Willie le Roux as the most potent fullback in Super Rugby, fourth in carries (53) with the third most beaten defenders (14). Nearly 350 metres run shows how dangerous the All Black is on attack.

8. The Blues have the worst scrum retention (67%) of any team in 2014 Super Rugby so far.

9. The three-time winners are in the top three for defenders beaten, offloads, metres and carries.

10. Now for the balance. At full strength the Blues can roll out 11 past or present All Blacks. Sir John Kirwan has already warned that the time for auditions is over – so how the team selection plays out will fascinate.