Blues to unleash All Black on Sharks

Wed, 19 Jun 2013 08:33
Large piri weepu   rene ranger bl Large charles piutau blues try Large francis saili blues Large kevin mealamu blues media

Blues coach John Kirwan has named all his All Blacks in the 26-man squad to travel to South Africa on Friday.

Blues coach John Kirwan has named all his All Blacks in the 26-man squad to travel to South Africa on Friday.

The Blues depart for the Republic on Friday, playing the Sharks in Durban next Saturday, June 29, before heading to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs on July 6.

Current All Blacks squad members Charles Piutau, Francis Saili, Steven Luatua, Piri Weepu, Keven Mealamu and Rene Ranger will only join the team early next week - following the third Test against France in New Plymouth on Saturday - but are expected to be unleashed on the Sharks.

The squad features 10 players who have not toured South Africa before - including wider training group player Lolagi Visinia, who played on the wing for the New Zealand Under-20 team in their loss to England in the IRB World Junior Championship semifinal in France on Tuesday.

Visinia will fly from France, following the third-lace play-off match against South Africa U20 on Sunday, to join the team.

Kirwan said he was pleased with the make-up of his squad.

"I think the biggest factor for us was waiting on the guys' game time from the All Blacks and making sure they're OK to travel," he said.

"We've gone for two scrumhalves and three hookers, so we've taken a bit of a risk there," the Blues coach said.

"We're going to bring Lolagi Visinia over from the NZ U20s because he covers two or three positions so that made it a little bit hard on someone like Marty McKenzie, but when you're touring it's just a matter of making sure you get the mix right."

Kirwan said it was crucial to kick-start the tour with a victory over the Sharks to stay in touch with the top six.

"The second week really means nothing yet. The Sharks game is a must-win for us, it's like our final and that's because if we win that then we stay completely in touch with the top six.

"The Cheetahs will then become a different kettle of fish so we just need to get back on the horse and play a good game of footy."

Blues squad: Tim Perry, Sam Prattley, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Quentin MacDonald, Keven Mealamu, James Parsons, Anthony Boric, Culum Retallick, Ali Williams, Luke Braid, Steven Luatua, Peter Saili, Brendon O'Connor, Kane Barrett, Jamison Gibson-Park, Piri Weepu, , Baden Kerr, Chris Noakes, Francis Saili, Jackson Willison, Rene Ranger, , George Moala, Frank Halai, Charles Piutau, Lolagi Visinia.

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 27 November 2015
Leinster v Ulster 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Dragons 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 28 November 2015
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 15h00 Sandy Park
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 15h15 Twickenham
Munster v Connacht 17h15 Thomond Park
London Irish v Wasps 17h30 Twickenham
Sun, 29 November 2015
Scarlets v Zebre 14h30 Parc y Scarlets
Leicester Tigers v Bath 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26