Blues axe Tuipulotu over training gaffe

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 05:08
Large patrick tuipulotu blues 800

TEAM UPDATE: The Blues axed lock Patrick Tuipulotu from their match against the British and Irish Lions for disciplinary reasons., raising questions over his All Blacks Test spot.

The Blues said Tuipulotu was pulled from the squad for Wednesday's match after breaking team protocol by turning up late for a training session.

His position on the bench for the Eden Park game will be taken by Jimmy Tupou.

The slip also casts doubt on the 12-Test lock's place in the All Blacks squad for the three-Test series against the Lions, which will be named on Thursday.

Coach Tana Umaga said the team had strict standards regardless of the status of the player or the occasion.

The Blues also confirmed that centre Sonny Bill Williams had been cleared to play against the Lions after previously being bracketed with TJ Faine when the side was first named.

Two-time World Cup winner Williams had been battling a knee injury and missed the Blues Super Rugby win over the Reds in Apia last Friday.

The Blues will be the first Super Rugby franchise to play the British & Irish Lions, in front of a massive crowd at their home ground of Eden Park.

Williams has recovered from a knee injury he suffered against the Chiefs.

His inclusion means TJ Faiane will move to the replacement, with Melani Nanai dropping out of the matchday 23.

The Blues will also lay down the challenge of their own haka which has been composed and choreographed specifically for the team by Whiria Meltzer and Ruka Makiha. Meltzer is well known in rugby circles as a Sevens player of note for North Harbour and now Northland.

The haka is titled He Toa Takitini or the Strength of Many. It talks about the team and their wider community and acknowledges those who have worn the jersey before. The haka also encourages the players as young men to strive for excellence and to never waiver from a challenge.

Blues - revised: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane.

Date: Wednesday, June 7
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (08.35 UK & Ireland time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Blue Bulls vs Free State Cheetahs
sast: 14h05 | local: 14h05

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Griquas v Pumas 12h30 Kimberley
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Pumas v Blue Bulls 17h00 Nelspruit
Sat, 26 August 2017
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Dunedin
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 19 August 2017
Australia v New Zealand 34 | 54
Fri, 18 August 2017
Western Province v Golden Lions 39 | 3
Sat, 12 August 2017
Golden Lions v Sharks 31 | 47
Western Province v Blue Bulls 45 | 34
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 25 | 30
Wed, 09 August 2017
Blue Bulls v Sharks 20 | 28
Pumas v Free State Cheetahs 34 | 45
Griquas v Western Province 44 | 34
Sat, 05 August 2017
Blue Bulls v Golden Lions 54 | 22
Lions v Crusaders 17 | 25
Western Province v Pumas 34 | 19
Fri, 04 August 2017
Sharks v Griquas 41 | 3
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 30 | 17
Sat, 29 July 2017
Sharks v Pumas 29 | 0
Lions v Hurricanes 44 | 29
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0