Weepu hits a century

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:23
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All Black scrumhalf Piri Weepu will play his 100th Super Rugby game when the Blues go head-to-head with his old franchise, the Hurricanes.

All Black scrumhalf Piri Weepu will play his 100th Super Rugby game when the Blues go head-to-head with his old franchise, the Hurricanes, on Saturday.

Weepu will bring up his ton in his hometown of Wellington, while Rene Ranger will bring up his 50th game starting at centre.

Blues coach John Kirwan has named journeyman Chris Noakes at flyhalf, ahead of rookie Baden Kerr.

Kirwan said that Kerr isn't ready to start yet.

"I think Chris brings us that experience we need and he's driving the team well," Kirwan said.

"Baden has just really improved week after week. He came into the side and was probably not expressing himself as well as he could, but he's certainly been living up to our motto 'better never stops', so there's good pressure," the Blues coach said.

Kirwan said it would also be a special night for two of his most experienced players - Weepu and Ranger.

"It's a special achievement for Piri in front of his whanau and against his old team," the coach said.

"It was an emotional place for him to leave but we're proud he'll be playing his 100th Super Rugby game for us in front of his family with his new family.

"We've also got Rene's 50th game. He's a Blues man and played every single one of his 50 games with us so it's a special occasion for him too. It's just really important that all the guys do their jobs, these milestones are important and they're important if we put in a good performance."

Powerful Counties-Manukau wing Frank Halai will make his Super Rugby debut.

On the bench, Brendon O'Connor, Bryn Hall and Baden Kerr are poised to make their Super Rugby debuts, while Quentin MacDonald and Jackson Willison may also make their first appearances in a Blues jersey.

After three months of gruelling pre-season training, Kirwan said he couldn't wait to kick off the season and revealed how difficult it was to select his first starting XV.

"It was really tough, there are some really unlucky guys and I think that's how it should be," Kirwan said.

"One of the things we asked the players was to put us under pressure to get selected. When we started in December I thought 'well this is going to be interesting' but everyone has put their hands up, there wasn't one player in the team that wasn't considered except for Anthony Boric who is still coming back from injury so that's a pretty good situation to be in."

Kirwan said he was expecting a fierce challenge from a strong Hurricanes outfit.

"It's a good side. They've come off a couple of rebuilding years and they're feeling like they're ready to explode so I put them as firm favourites and us as underdogs so we've got nothing to lose. We're going to go out there, express ourselves and enjoy it."

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: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.

Date: Saturday, February 23
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.30 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19