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
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 29 October 2016
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Allianz Park
Ospreys v Dragons 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Leinster v Connacht 16h15 RDS Arena
Sun, 30 October 2016
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Sale Sharks 15h00 Ashton Gate
Exeter Chiefs v Bath 15h00 Sandy Park
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