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
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28