Mealamu returns for changed Blues

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:14
Large keven mealamu

Keven Mealamu will start at hooker in one of seven changes to the Blues starting line-up for their clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.

Keven Mealamu will start at hooker in one of seven changes to the Blues starting line-up for their clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.
 
Head coach Sir John Kirwan's Blues squad has been boosted by a number of key players from injury in time for Friday’s crunch match with the Hurricanes.
 
Fresh off the bye last week and coming off a 9-26 defeat at the hands of the Brumbies in their last game, the Blues welcome back 110 Test cap veteran hooker Mealamu who forms an all-All Blacks front row alongside Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina.
 
"It’s great to welcome Kevvie back," Kirwan said.
 
"He’s had just 20 minutes for us this season so it was a decision as to whether we brought him off the bench or just threw him out there and I think he’s got the experience and the fitness to be able to start.  
 
He’s 100 per cent so we’ll just get him out there from the start."
 
Locks Patrick Tuipulotu and Tom Donnelly have also overcome injuries to form a new-look second row, while captain Luke Braid returns to the starting line-up after coming off the bench against the Brumbies.
 
Steven Luatua shifts from number eight to his preferred position of blindside flank, trading places with the abrasive Jerome Kaino who bolsters the back of the scrum.
 
"Jerome gives us a little bit more experience and control at eight," Kirwan said.
 
"I think we’re talking two very similar players but one’s a bit younger and a little less experienced and one’s a bit older with a wiser head so they’re both great athletes and ball runners.
 
"Jerome’s really bringing us some edge defensively and I think his decision making around the base of the scrum is what we need against the Canes."
 
In the backs, Chris Noakes has been given the nod to start at flyhalf ahead of youngster Simon Hickey who drops out of the match day 23.
 
"Simon has played well for us and had a good run but I think Noakesy’s the best man for the job against the Hurricanes," Kirwan said.
 
"I think his tactical kicking game and tactical awareness at this stage is what we need against the Hurricanes. 
 
"Simon is tracking really well and it was a big learning curve for him against the Brumbies so for us it’s about getting the right horses for the right courses."
 
All Blacks Ma’a Nonu and Francis Saili feature in a powerful midfield combination, while livewire wing Lolagi Visinia will make his first start of the season in place of Frank Halai.
 
"Lolagi played well for us late last year and he’s a very good young player, we think he’s going to be a special athlete," Kirwan said. 
 
"He’s been our best performers for the development squad and the message is if you play well for the development squad you’re going to get your opportunity and that’s what we’ve done, we’ve given him an opportunity to prove himself."
 

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 George Moala, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Liaki Moli, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Benji Marshall, 23 Frank Halai.
 
Date: Friday, April 18
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kickoff: 19:35 (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Watt (New Zealand)
 
There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14