Kirwan shakes up the Blues

Thu, 30 May 2013 08:28
Large ali williams disappointed Large kirwan looks630 Large anthony boric630

Blues coach John Kirwan has made five changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Blues coach John Kirwan has made five changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin, as he continues to shake up his under-performing team.

With Keven Mealamu away with the All Blacks earlier this week, James Parsons has been given the nod at hooker.

Lock Anthony Boric makes just his second start of the season in place of Culum Retallick.

"Our whole line-out was here with Ali being back and Anthony starting, so we've just got a little bit selfish really and said JP can throw all week and Kevvie can come off the bench," Kirwan explained.

"It gives us a little bit more organisation and confidence in what is a critical game," the coach added.

"AB is ready to go, he's had his challenges, he's an All Black lock and Red [Culum Retallick] is on the bench so it's a great opportunity for AB to step up and show us what he's got."

Impressive young All Black prospect Steven Luatua has overcome a neck injury to start at blindside flank, while scans on Luke Braid's groin have come back clear so he will start on the openside.

In the backs, Baden Kerr makes his second start of the season in place of Chris Noakes who is dealing with some family issues, while Waisake Naholo also gets a rare start on the left wing ahead of George Moala.

"It's time to give Waisake a crack at it. He's deserved it, he's worked hard and we know what George can do so it's a little bit of a change up," Kirwan said.

Kirwan said he was looking forward to playing on a dry track under the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof on Saturday, in what shapes as a crucial game for the Blues' play-off prospects.

"For us it's a case of if you don't understand the importance of this week then you're playing the wrong game and our boys do. We're excited about the challenge," said Kirwan, who earlier in the week also gave his team the hairdryer treatment.

"We know the Highlanders have just been missing so they can make their season by beating us. We can't let that happen, we've got to put our season back on track and get back up the points table and stay in touch. If we do that this weekend then we're back in contention for the top six so there's a lot riding on it."

The Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy is also on the line on Saturday, honouring one of the characters of Otago who was also in the unique position of having coached both the Blues and Highlanders.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Marty McKenzie, 22 Jackson Willison.

Date: Saturday, June 1
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
SUPER RUGBY
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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