Kirwan drafts Mealamu back in

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 08:36
Large keven mealamu interview Large john kirwan blues 630 Large keven mealamu line out

Blues head coach John Kirwan has made two changes to the starting XV for Friday's Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders at Eden Park.

Blues head coach John Kirwan has made two changes to the starting XV for Friday's Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders at Eden Park.

Tasman prop Tim Perry will start at loosehead in place of Tom McCartney, while Jackson Willison replaces Francis Saili at inside centre.

The Blues will be bolstered by World Cup-winning All Black hooker Keven Mealamu, who is named on the bench and will make his first appearance of the season after taking an extended leave period.

"We've obviously got Keven coming back so Quentin [MacDonald] is a bit unlucky," Kirwan said.

"We think Tim played really well against the Bulls so we want to have another look at him and Jacko just adds bit more balance to the midfield," he added.

"We think Francis has been playing well but he's been playing a lot so we want him to take some time out and reassess and then come off the bench for us."

Despite boasting a team brimming with All Blacks and X-factor, the Highlanders have been unable to record a win in five matches this season and sit at the bottom of the Super Rugby ladder.

However, in many of those losses they have performed strongly and Kirwan knows it is only a matter of time before they click into gear.

"They're seriously dangerous, we're going to have to have a great game to beat them. Ma'a Nonu will bring his A-game and I think we're seeing Hosea on the wing having his best season.

"We've got a whole lot of good footballers against us that are hurting. I'm good mates with Jamie Joseph and I know how proud he is so this is a huge game for us.

"They can't win a trick and I don't want them to win one on Friday either so that's the nature of this tournament. Look at us, we've lost three in a row so we're under the pump as well. It's going to be a huge game with lots of fireworks and lots of emotion."

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Jackson Willison, 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 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Francis Saili.

Date: Friday, April 5
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 20h15 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Thu, 18 February 2016
TUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Pretoria
Fort Hare v Wits 16h30 East London
Fri, 19 February 2016
Zebre v Leinster 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 22 | 21
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 26 | 14
Leinster v Zebre 52 | 0
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 13 | 10
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 21 | 26
Mon, 08 February 2016
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 17 | 23
UJ v NMMU-Madibaz 19 | 12
Maties v CUT-Ixias 40 | 0
UWC v UKZN-Impi 13 | 24
Wits v TUT 53 | 0
UP-Tuks v NWU-Pukke 15 | 38
Sun, 07 February 2016
Ireland v Wales 16 | 16
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 11 | 14
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 20 | 13
Sat, 06 February 2016
Scotland v England 9 | 15
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