• Mid 80s - 1995
  • 1997
  • 1999
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2007
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2013
  • #
  • #
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2012
  • 2014

Mid-80s-1995

Finals
Draw and Results

Auckland dominance sets the platform for Blues success

When the Super 12, which was to become the Super 14 and now the Super 15 (to be known as Super Rugby), began in 1996 it was a common assumption that the competition would become an Auckland benefit.

From the early to mid 1980s, when John Hart with the help of Andy Haden had first built a remarkable provincial side, until the mid 90s, Auckland rugby dominated the New Zealand game, monopolising the Ranfurly Shield and national provincial championships and producing a flow of All Blacks, many of whom were champions.

That dominance continued with the introduction of the Super 12, with the Blues, the new professional side based in Auckland being the outstanding franchise in the first three years.

Former greats create legacy for new Blues generation

Some of the great players of the 80s and 90s had gone by the time professionalism was sanctioned in 1995, thus bringing about the introduction of the Super 12 and the Tri-Nations. By 1994 Grant Fox, John Kirwan, Terry Wright, Bernie McCahill, Joe Stanley, Gary and Alan Whetton, and Steve McDowell had all retired.

But the legacy they had helped create continued with Sean Fitzpatrick, Zinzan and Robin Brooke, plus Michael Jones still in their prime in 1996. And other great players had emerged, either through the development programmes of the 80s and early 90s or through thoughtful recruitment. Adrian Cashmore, Lee Stensness, Eroni Clarke, Carlos Spencer, Olo Brown and Craig Dowd ensured that the Auckland/Blues sides of 1996-97 were as formidable as those of the 80s and early 90s

Coaching standards put Blues in good stead

It had also been the Blues’ good fortune that the high coaching standards set by John Hart were maintained. After Maurice Trapp and Bryan Williams in 1987-91, another coaching maestro in Graham Henry emerged in 1992.

Counties-Manukau a boost to the Blues

In the first four seasons of the Super 12 the Blues had another small advantage. Counties were then part of the franchise, when geographical logic was upturned and North Harbour and Northland were linked with Waikato in the Chiefs. Few from the Counties union were regulars in the Blues starting XV, the likes of Andrew Roose, Errol Brain and Michael Scott being backup players.

But for 1996 Counties provided the Blues with two exceptional finishers on the wings in Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri. Counties, in the first three seasons of the Blues, also provided an ideal coaching partner for Henry in Mac McCallion, who won great respect for his work with the Blues forwards.

  • Mid 80s - 1995
  • 1997
  • 1999
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2007
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2013
  • #
  • #
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2012
  • 2014