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
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 14h00 Paris
Fri, 28 April 2017
Ospreys v Ulster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 22h00 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Scarlets 22h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Dragons 22h00 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 RDS Arena
Treviso v Munster 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
Bulls v Jaguares 26 | 13
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10