Kirwan opts for successful formula

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 05:30
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Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has restored his successful combinations for Sunday's clash with the Waratahs in Sydney.

Blues head coach John Kirwan has restored his successful combinations for Sunday's clash with the Waratahs in Sydney.

After rolling the changes and losing to the Bulls before the bye, Kirwan has reverted to the tried and tested formula that saw the Blues defeat the Hurricanes and Crusaders in the opening two rounds of the Super Rugby competition.

Chris Noakes takes the reigns at flyhalf, while George Moala, Peter Saili, Culum Retallick, James Parsons and Tom McCartney all return to the starting XV.

On the bench, Anthony Boric is poised to make his first appearance in more than a year after surgery on his neck kept him sidelined, while scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park maintains his position in the matchday 22 in place of Bryn Hall.

"We've got this idea of making sure we continue to create a full squad. The loss certainly influenced what we do going forward so it's back to the guys that have been proven for us," Kirwan said.

"We've kept Jamo [Jamison Gibson-Park] on the bench because we thought he came on and brought us a different look from scrumhalf but if we were a few weeks down the track and we'd got a few more wins then we'd probably look at trying to involve more guys just because if we don't and some injuries happen down the track we're going to be under the pump."

After three hit-outs for the Blues development team, Kirwan said Boric was both physically and mentally ready to get stuck in against the Waratahs.

"We've picked him because he's stopped mentally processing. He's had those three development games and in the first game he was thinking about his neck and doing things that he might not normally do, but he's progressively got better so he's in the side because he'll go on and won't think about it anymore. We're pleased to have him back."

Kirwan is under no illusions as to how difficult Sunday's showdown with the under-siege Waratahs will be.

"I think they'll play their best game of rugby. They're under the pump, they're desperate, they've got a coach who's saying 'this is a war' and they've got a good enough football team to beat anyone so if we're not ready for that sort of intensity then we're going to lose. I reckon it's a huge test for both teams."

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, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.

Date: Sunday, March 24
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 16.05 (05.05 GMT)
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 7 4 0 3 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Blues 7 2 0 5 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14
Jaguares 7 3 0 4 12