Emerging Blues star credits Scotland stint for growing through youthful impatience


It's typical of Cole Forbes' season to find himself in the right place at the right time.

In the Blues' nerve-wracking and pivotal 31-27 Super Rugby Pacific win over the Hurricanes at Eden Park, he scored a try late in the first half shortly after replacing injured full-back Zaren Sullivan. The number of Blues players was reduced to 14 players for ten minutes after Akira Iwane received a yellow card.

Forbes played all 11 matches for the Blues-leading side, also scoring a try in their narrow 41-34 win over the Reds in Brisbane.

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Forbes returns to New Zealand in 2023 after two-and-a-half seasons in Scotland with the Glasgow Warriors. He missed half of NPC's season with Bay of Plenty due to a hamstring injury but did enough to interest the Blues selectors. It has proven to be a revelation.

“When you look at the All Blacks in our squad, it can be very difficult for a new player coming in. I was confident that if I had a good pre-season, I could push for a place in Round 23 and go from there,” Forbes told Rugby Pass. “URC is not a bad company.”

“I came through the Bay of Plenty academy and made my debut for the Steamers in 2018. I wasn't getting a lot of playing time and all you want to do when you're a kid is play rugby. My grandfather was born in Scotland and my teammate Hugh Blake put in a word for me Taiba in Glasgow went on trial and remained for two and a half years.

“In Glasgow, I learned a lot about playing in front of big crowds and in difficult conditions. The game revolves around set-pieces and territory which broadened my skill set. I flew under the radar because football is king in Glasgow. You won't get noticed unless you're a British and Irish Lion.

Blake is a Scottish international from Hamilton Boys' High School.

Forbes is a product of Tauranga Boys' College and T-Book Sports, the same club that includes Nathan Harris and Aidan Ross. In 2017, Forbes was part of the Bay of Plenty team that won the Under-19 National Championship in Taup?. The following season he was selected for the New Zealand under-20 squad but it was difficult to make significant progress.

“The Bay of Plenty in the 1990s was special with the likes of Emoni Narawa, Tevita Mavilio and my good mate Leroy Carter,” Forbes said.

“I was picked at 10 but was swapped with Caleb Trask and at that point I put ten points in goal and focused on the full-back. My game is more suited to the full-back. There is more space, more running and less organisation.

“The 1990s were a good platform to start my career, but I was a bit impatient. My time in Scotland helped me grow a lot.

Forbes played just five games in his first spell at Bay of Plenty from 2018 to 2020: Northland (38-35 and 46-22), Wellington (10-32), Manawatu (53-35) and Canterbury (44-8).

At Glasgow, he made 36 of 38 appearances (22 wins) scoring 11 tries. Glasgow have reached the semi-finals of the United Rugby League in 2022-23.

Forbes hit the ground running with the Blues. He scored tries in both Japan Tour pre-season victories against Suntory (43-7) and Cannon Eagles (57-22).

He was a reserve for the first six matches of Super Rugby Pacific with his highlight being a 40-minute cameo in the 26-6 win over the Crusaders at Eden Park. The Blues have not beaten the Crusaders in Auckland since 2014.

Zaren Sullivan's injury gave Forbes four straight starts. His effort against the Reds could be one of the most important of the Blues' season.

“This is what we got away with,” Forbes said.

“You can't take Australian teams lightly at home. They seem to be growing another leg in their backyard. I'm not sure why they're so hard to beat at home, but you look at the Brumbies. We beat them 46-7 and then they beat the Hurricanes which didn't Defeated a week later in Canberra.

“We want to be the best team in this competition, and to do that you have to win games on the road.

“We don't get carried away. Vern Cotter and the coaching staff have created a really good culture. When we click, it's hard to stay with us.”





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