Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Auckland Blues is a New Zealand rugby union team based in Auckland, New Zealand, and representing the Northland, North Harbour and Auckland unions. They compete in the Super 12 competition, which they have won three times (1996, 1997, 2003).
Composition of the Blues
When SANZAR were drafting the teams compositions it was decided that to have the Blues consist of North Harbour, Counties Manukau, Northland and Auckland would be unfair. This was due to the preponderance of All Blacks which came from North Harbour, Counties Manukau and Auckland at the time thus, if the blues were to consist of these unions they would field an All Black team in all but name.
This led to North Harbour and Northland being part of the nearest other team, the Waikato Chiefs. This resulted in a situation where the Auckland Blues did not represent all of Auckland as North Harbour consists of the Northern sector the Auckland metropolitan area; yet the Blues also posessed Thames Valley as part of their franchise base, an area considerably closer to Hamilton than Auckland City.
By the end of the 1990s the number of All Blacks from these unions decreased, largely due to retirements of players such as Sean Fitzpatrick. This led the Blues and the Chiefs to arrange a swap, whereby the Chiefs would gain Thames Valley and Counties Manukau in exchange for the Blues gaining Northland and North Harbour. This was widely considered not to be a fair trade as North Harbour and Northland had in recent seasons leading up to the trade greatly out performed Counties Manukau and Thames Valley; however, it enabled the franchises to maintain unions that roughly contain the area they claim to represent.
However the Blues, ironically, lost the area colliqually referred to as South Auckland which is part of the Auckland metropolitan area. Thus, it can be said the Blues traded South Auckland for North Auckland and that the Blues as yet, still does not consist of the entire Auckland region area as it's name suggests.
The Auckland union, which supplies the majority of the Blues' top players, is by far the most successful in New Zealand's domestic rugby competition, the National Provincial Championship. They have been Division One champions 14 times since that competition's inception in 1976.
The Blues have contained many All Blacks, yet they have struggled to repeat the consistency they showed in the competition's first three years. The Blues are at their best when they are playing fast, free-flowing rugby and have what is regarded by rugby commentators as potentially one of the most deadly back-lines in the rugby-world that can score tries prolifically as they have demonstrated on many occasions.
Albeit, the Blues over the recent years have also been prone to 'choking' and failing to perform to their potential and losing crucial matches against opponents that, on paper they should beat. This tendency to fluctuate in form, even between weeks, has greatly frustrated fans and drawn criticism from rugby journalists.
Super 12 positions
|1996 ..||1st||.. (defeated Natal in final)|
|1997 ..||1st||.. (defeated ACT Brumbies in final)|
|1998 ..||2nd||.. (lost final to Canterbury Crusaders)|
|2003 ..||1st||.. (defeated Canterbury Crusaders in final)|
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