Blues bench All Black latecomers

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 08:50
Large rene ranger headphones 630 Large rene ranger blues Large kevenmealamubluestraining

All Blacks Keven Mealamu and Rene Ranger will start on the bench for the Blues in their clash with the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.

All Blacks Keven Mealamu and Rene Ranger will start on the bench for the Blues in their clash with the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.

The duo only touched down in South Africa on Monday and Tuesday respectively, so coach John Kirwan has opted to use them both in impact roles, while lock Culum Retallick is suffering from illness and has been bracketed on the bench with Kane Barrett.

Kirwan said the disruption caused by late arrivals of key players had been mitigated by the enthusiasm the new All Blacks had injected into the camp.

"It was really important that these guys (Mealamu and Ranger) got home after they'd been with the All Blacks so today will be our first training run together since the players left," Kirwan said.

"It's probably not the most ideal preparation but we've planned for it and we understood how it was going to be. The boys are really excited and refreshed so that has compensated for it."

Captain Ali Williams is set to join an illustrious group of players featuring Mealamu, John Afoa and Tony Woodcock who have played 100 games for the Blues, and Kirwan was quick to acknowledge Williams' contribution to the franchise over the last decade.

"It's great for someone like him; he's such a proud Blues man. He's been one of the key guys driving the importance of the game this week for us as a franchise and I think it's an added bonus that Ali gets to play his 100th game for the Blues and he joins a very special club."

Currently sitting in eighth position on the Super Rugby ladder with three games remaining, it's a must-win match for the Blues if they are to have a chance of making the play-offs, and Kirwan said his side was embracing the knock-out nature of this game.  

"It's a Test match for us and the players are very excited about it. It feels a little bit like the beginning of the season for us and hopefully the game will be a little bit like that.

"The guys are really excited, they've come together really well, we've been chatting all week about how important this game is for our season so it'll be very interesting to see how they deal with that sudden death pressure," he added.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Kane Barrett/Culum Retallick, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Rene Ranger.
 
Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 14.50 (12.50 GMT; 00.50, Sunday, June 30 NZ time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Tiaan Jonker (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Roos (South Africa)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4