Blues change three for Crusaders

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:45
Large patrick tuipulotu blues 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues have made three changes and one positional change to their team to take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.

Up front, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti comes back in as the starting lock after starting in the first two games, and will partner All Black Patrick Tuipulotu in the second row.

Jimmy Tupou will move from lock to loose forward, with All Black Jerome Kaino moving to No.8.

In the backs, Piers Francis comes in at first-five eighth and Melani Nanai returns on the left wing.

There is one notable addition in the reserves with former New Zealand Under-20 player TJ Faiane included, with the midfield back potentially to make his Super Rugby debut after being sidelined for the past two seasons with major injury and surgeries.

Coach Tana Umaga said that if Faiane gets on the field, that it will be a special moment for a young player who has remained dedicated and with high spirits despite his setbacks over the last two years.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane.

Date: Friday, March 17
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
Munster v Toulouse 17h45 Limerick
Sun, 02 April 2017
Waratahs v Crusaders 06h05 Allianz Park
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Allianz Park
Clermont Auvergne v Toulon 15h15 Clermont-Ferrand
Mon, 03 April 2017
Maties v UJ 14h30 Stellenbosch
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 17h00 Pretoria
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