Stephen Perofeta has been in great shape for the Blues’ best team in season 15 this season as a defender and formed a partnership with the top five All Black Beauden Barrett.
After last year’s NPC season with Taranaki, Perofeta was awarded the Duane Monkley Medal for the competition’s most useful player. Whether in the top five in Barrett’s absence or as a defender, Perofeta leaves his seal in the Blues.
Talk to Aotearoa Rugby Podcastformer All Black midfielder James Parsons and Crusaders Bryn Hall shed light on Perofeta’s chances of choosing All Black.
“I think he’s right in the selection mix,” Parsons said.
“In the long run, when you do All Blacks, it’s not just one season. He has had a huge season with Taranaki and is now moving the game to the level of Super Rugby.
“And the confidence to get up with a grubber for Beaudy will enter the first receiver with Beauden outside of him … He’s definitely in great shape and pays with confidence.”
“What the pack puts forward gives these guys time.” When you have guys with that pace and ability and vision to see space and bend defenses, it’s all because the big boys are in front, cleansing their bodies, sucking in more defenses and creating more space on the outside.
Crusaders half-defender Bryn Hall played against the Blues and Perofeta just a fortnight ago and was able to analyze his game from the field and said it was “probably his best game” for the Blues.
Perofeta’s form seems to be heading in the right direction towards the peak of the Super Rugby season.
“I don’t think he was that bad when he played with us a few weeks ago.” “It was probably his best match … in the Blues jersey,” said Hall.
“What was the turn of the evening and how did he manage the game? In the ways he influenced the game, I would say that the game against us was probably his best.
Ian Foster’s selection of Perofeta for the first All Blacks team of the season may depend on whether the All Blacks take the third top five or the extreme defender.
Richie Mo’ounga and Beauden Barrett are ahead of him as the top five All Blacks, while Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan are likely to be selected ahead of Perofeta on the outskirts.
However, he may be selected as the third top five and the defender will have dual coverage in both positions in a similar vein to that sometimes used by Damien McKenzie.
If the All Blacks decide to choose the third of the top five in their team, one All Black test Josh Ioane remains in dispute. However, Ioane is still finding his form after returning to the Chiefs after an injury.
The Chiefs also started during the Super Rugby season as extreme defenders of Kaleb Trask, Chase Tiatia and Emoni Narawa, while the Highlanders used Conor Garden-Bachop, Sam Gilbert and Mitch Hunt as their 10th and 15th.
The Hurricanes put Jordie Barrett, Ruben Love and Josh Moorby on the outskirts and Jackson Garden-Bachop and Aidan Morgan on the top five.
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