Blues change three for Crusaders

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:45
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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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