Blues sign Noakes, build for next season
Fri, 27 Jul 2012 7:50a.m.
Highlanders' first five-eighths Chris Noakes will play for the Blues in the next Super Rugby season.
Noakes, 27, will return to Bay of Plenty for the national provincial championship season before heading to Auckland to join the Blues later in the year.
The Auckland-based franchise has also secured the services of three youngsters whose Super Rugby careers took off earlier than expected in 2012, as the Blues experienced a horror run of injuries.
With new coach Sir John Kirwan at the helm next year, the Blues have been boosted with the re-signings of fullback Charles Piutau, speedster Francis Saili and lock Steven Luatua.
Blues high performance manager Nick Sheppard says the trio have proven their worth this season.
"Luatua really stepped up for the Blues this season when a significant tally of injuries thrust him into the big time, and he handled the speed and pressure of Super Rugby extremely well," Sheppard said.
Piutau and Saili both showed "serious speed and ability" in the latter part of the season for the Blues, he added.
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