Blues to unleash Weepu

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 10:29
Large piri weepu blues630 Large piri weepu abs train 630

Piri Weepu will make his first appearance of the year for the Blues on Friday when they take on the Highlanders in Queenstown in their final pre-season hit-out.

Piri Weepu will make his first appearance of the year for the Blues on Friday when they take on the Highlanders in Queenstown in their final pre-season hit-out.

The World Cup-winning scrumhalf has worked hard on his fitness since returning to the squad at the end of January and is looking forward to pulling on the number nine jersey.

"It'll be good to go down there and have a trot," Weepu said.

"I watched last week's game and how quick the boys were playing so it's going to be good, it's really exciting."

Weepu said he was a lot more motivated to make a difference this year as one of the few experienced players in a young squad.

"I'm pretty motivated to make sure I play a bigger role than last year," he said.

"I've done a lot of work outside the camp to get myself in better nick than I was last year. I've been trying to maintain that and make sure that when I come into camp I'm not behind the boys.

"I want to help out these younger boys a lot more, not just by saying it but by doing it as well. I guess it's going to be a key role that I'm going to have to take on because the average age in the backline isn't 27, it's 21 or 22 so I need to pass on my knowledge to anyone in the backline in terms of guidance and making them understand what it's like to be a professional rugby player," he explained.

Blues head coach John Kirwan said Weepu had been 'outstanding' since joining the team.

"He's shown great leadership, great guidance of the young guys and great input into what we're doing as a team.

"I didn't know Piri (before I started coaching the Blues), I'd heard a lot of great things about him in the environment but he's actually been brilliant," he said.

Weepu returns to a near full-strength side to take on the Highlanders, with Charlie Faumuina making his first start at tighthead prop and Charles Piutau returning from injury to line up at fullback.

However Kirwan said there were still opportunities for players to push their claims for selection in the first competition match against the Hurricanes on February 23.

"We're trying to give everyone an equal amount of game time. Our goal as coaches was to make sure that we're being put under pressure for selection. Some guys are not going down there that have already put us under pressure, other guys need to keep performing so we're hoping to be under pressure to pick a starting side on Saturday morning."

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements - from: Quentin MacDonald, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Liaki Moli, Ronald Raaymakers, Sean Polwart, Kane Barrett, Joe Edwards, Bryn Hall, Jackson Willison, Baden Kerr, Marty McKenzie, Pita Ahki.

Date: Friday, February 15
Venue: Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown
Kick-off: 17.30 (04.30 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant referees: Kane McBride, Mike Lash

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4