Rugby: Weepu arrives at Blues in good shape

Piri Weepu
Piri Weepu
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 family."

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 good."

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 him."

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 well.

The Blues' first pre-season game is in Queensland, against the Reds on Saturday, February 2.