Ricky Riccitelli’s Resilient Resurgence Fuels the Blues’ Relentless Rugby Journey

This captivating feature delves into the invaluable contribution of Ricky Riccitelli, the veteran hooker whose rugged resilience and team-first mentality have been integral to the Blues’ success in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Ricky Riccitelli’s Rugged Resilience Drives Blues’ Resolute Approach

Ricky Riccitelli, the hooker who has been integral to the Blues’ success in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, is the focus of this captivating feature published on BBC Rugby Union.

Embracing Vern Cotter’s Philosophy

Vern Cotter, the experienced coach, has instilled an edge and honesty to the Blues that was previously absent, and Riccitelli has embraced this philosophy wholeheartedly. As Riccitelli revealed, “Vern is the most honest coach I’ve had. All coaches have straight-up conversations, but Vern will call you out in front of everyone. There’s a care, clarity, and accountability about Vern that’s awesome.”

A Journey of Resilience and Growth

Riccitelli’s journey has been one of resilience and growth. As a member of the victorious New Zealand Under 20s team in 2015, he has since amassed 70 matches for Taranaki, winning an NPC Premiership in 2023. This season, the 106-time Super Rugby centurion played a pivotal role in the Blues’ dominant 47-8 win over Moana Pasifika.

Learning from the Legendary Dane Coles

Riccitelli’s experience at the Hurricanes, where he learned from the legendary Dane Coles, has been invaluable. As he reflected, “I learned so much from Colsey, and most of it was away from the field; how to carry yourself, be a leader, a family man, become consistently excellent in what you do.”

Adapting to Suit the Team’s Needs

The Blues’ 2022 season saw them achieve a franchise record 15 consecutive wins, but they faced a setback in the 2023 semi-final against the Crusaders. As Riccitelli admitted, “We got rolled in that semi-final against the Crusaders. We’ve always had big potential at the Blues, but finding a game plan that suits each individual has been challenging.”

This season, the Blues have adopted a more direct approach, which Riccitelli believes suits the players they have. “This season we’ve gone for a real direct approach. It suits the players we have,” he said. “The key for us is trusting each other, nailing our week, and going out there excited to do our job.”

Lineout Mastery and Leadership

Riccitelli’s leadership and expertise in the lineout have been instrumental for the Blues. As he emphasized, “The lineout is massive for us. We have a big collective that meets a couple of times a week looking at video and nailing that part of the game.”

As the Blues prepare to face the Brumbies, Ricky Riccitelli’s rugged resilience and commitment to the team’s success will undoubtedly be crucial in their quest for glory.

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