Francis starts in Battle of the Bombays

Wed, 24 May 2017 08:24
Large piers francis blues driven off 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Blues flyhalf Piers Francis will start against the Chiefs at Eden Park on Friday after not developing any further symptoms to the concussion suffered against the Stormers.

Francis came off as is a mandatory criteria around a loss of consciousness and therefore did not require "head testing" at the time.

Blues doctor Dr Stephen Kara confirmed that Francis had not developed any further symptoms in a range of regular testing under the protocol since including a full neurological exam and neuro-cognitive testing via SCAT scan. 

He further tested clear after a return to training and completed the other graduated protocol steps to play with no recurrence of any symptoms.

All Black Patrick Tuipulotu returns to the starting line-up, while Michael Collins also returns at fullback after both came off the bench for the match against the Stormers. All Black prop Charlie Faumuina will make his 98th appearance for the Blues and is in superlative form this season, setting up two tries in the same game.

Two others will near milestones with wing Matt Duffie and prop Sione Mafileo playing their 19th games for the Blues, one cap away from their blazer games.

There is interest in the potential debut of former New Zealand Under-20 player Stephen Perofeta, who is listed on the bench. He has been sidelined with an ankle injury for most of the season but returned to club rugby last weekend.

Players not available because of injury include: Jerome Kaino (knee), Pauliasi Manu (calf), Matt Moulds (knee), Ihaia West (ankle) and Jimmy Tupou (hamstring). 

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 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 TJ Faiane.

Date: Friday, May 26
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4