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