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)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 28 May 2016
Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Connacht v Leinster 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
Fri, 03 June 2016
EP Kings v Sharks 17h00 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Brumbies 11 7 0 4 29
Rebels 10 5 0 5 23
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 11 2 0 9 11
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 11 6 1 4 29
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Bulls 11 7 1 3 32
Stormers 11 6 1 4 32
Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 11 8 0 3 37
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9