Faumuina set for Blues return

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:10
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues have just one change to their starting line-up to take on the Bulls on Saturday at the QBE Stadium in North Harbour.

All Black Charlie Faumuina is named in the front row in his expected return from injury, although it will be dependent on how he recovers from Thursday's final training session. He has been bracketed with North Harbour's Sione Mafileo.

The rest of the starting team is unchanged from last week's match against the Crusaders.

Blake Gibson will play his 18th game for the Blues, while All Black Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who will again come off the bench on Saturday, edges to within three games of his 50th cap for the Blues.

Players unavailable due to injury/suspension includes Stephen Luatua, Sonny Bill Williams, Stephen Perofeta, Alex Hodgman and Declan O’Donnell.

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 Charlie Faumuina/Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Sam Prattley, 18 Sione Mafileo/Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane.

Date: Saturday, March 25
Venue: QBE Stadium, North Harbour
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT; 08.35 CAT)
Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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