Weepu hits a century

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:23
Large piri weepu blues pass2 Large rene ranger blues Large piri weepu blues pass Large rene ranger looks 630

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
Sun, 25 September 2016
Leicester Tigers v Bath 14h00 Welford Road
Fri, 30 September 2016
Golden Lions v Sharks 15h00 Johannesburg
EP Kings v Pumas 16h00 Nelspruit
Western Province v Boland 17h10 Cape Town
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Rodney Parade
Connacht v Edinburgh 18h35 Sportsground
Bristol v Saracens 18h45 Ashton Gate
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Argentina v New Zealand 17h10 Ascoli Piceno
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Leinster 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff Blues v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Stadio Monigo
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9