All Black halfback Piri Weepu has turned up in good shape
for Blues pre-season training.
The 29-year-old is more than 10kg lighter than when he showed
up a year ago after his shift from the Hurricanes.
"I thought I should keep up with things this year and try and
make sure I start a lot better than how I was shape-wise last
year," Weepu said.
"I've been trying to run the roads and run up some mountains
and do anything I can that's cardio along with a little bit
of weights in between spending some quality time with my
Weepu was criticised for appearing to spend the majority of
the Blues' last season out of shape and was a controversial
selection for the All Blacks' end of year tour.
He said he now weighed about the same as he was during last
year's All Black trip to Europe. He attended a Blues training
session this week despite not being due to check in with his
fellow All Blacks until next week.
"I'd like to say I'm in pretty good nick," he said.
"I'm probably around the same as I was on the end of year
tour last year so I've been trying to keep everything down
and make sure that my numbers are right this time around.
"I'm pretty excited about it because I'm not as heavy as I
was last year when I first came into camp so it's pretty
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan was thrilled to see his starting
halfback return in shape.
"He doesn't have to be here, firstly, which is fantastic and
this story is officially dead - he is fit, he is well and he
is raring to go," Kirwan said.
"He's come back in and his body weight is good and his skin
folds are good. He's not ready to play yet but he's been on
holiday and he's done a fantastic job so we're excited to see
With a new coaching set-up, a new team and a fresh air of
optimism after last year's horror run under Pat Lam, Weepu
said he couldn't wait to get back into training.
"It's a new year, a new start and new beginnings so it's just
trying to make sure that I do everything possible this time
around to make the most of my opportunities.
"Obviously there are two young boys [halfbacks Jamison
Gibson-Park and Bryn Hall] that are in the team so I'll be
trying to help them out and I'm pretty sure they'll be
nipping at my heels but if not I'll be keeping them honest as
The Blues' first pre-season game is in Queensland, against
the Reds on Saturday, February 2.