Francis gets pivotal role for Blues

Thu, 04 May 2017 08:08
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues have named a virtually unchanged team for the second leg of their Australian tour against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

Flyhalf Piers Francis has been cleared of the wrist injury that ruled him out last weekend's Super Rugby match against the Brumbies on the day of the game. Francis, who has been selected to play for England in Argentina next month, returns to the No.10 jersey with Bryn Gatland to come off the bench.

The rest of the side remains unchanged from the line-up that managed a bonus-point win over the Brumbies in Canberra.

The team is facing the second of a challenging six-match run that sees them home against the Cheetahs next Friday ahead of a one-off trek against the Stormers in South Africa

The Blues then return to meet the Chiefs before travelling to Samoa to take on the Reds.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Leighton Price, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Melani Nanai.

Date: Saturday, May 6
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 (21.45 NZ time; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 August 2017
Pumas v Blue Bulls 17h00 Nelspruit
Sat, 26 August 2017
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Dunedin
Western Province v Sharks 13h00 Newlands
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions 15h15 Bloemfontein
Argentina v South Africa 17h30 Padre Ernesto Martearena Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28