Blues welcome back injured stars

Wed, 31 May 2017 10:51

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues welcome back the experienced pair of Rene Ranger and Jimmy Tupou for their historic clash against the Reds in Apia on Friday.

It will be the first Super Rugby match in Samoa and the first major game under lights at Apia Park.

Ranger, the six-Test All Black, missed last year with an ACL injury with his return this season cut short with a serious ankle injury.

Tupou, who played 37 times for the Crusaders before returning home last year, was a key part of the side both on and off the field before a hamstring injury sidelined him for half of the season.

Both return after strong showings in club rugby.

Excellent form against the Chiefs last week has rewarded North Harbour's Sione Mafileo and a returning Alex Hodgman with starts in the front row alongside captain James Parsons, with Tupou joining All Black Steven Luatua and Kara Pryor in an exciting and mobile loose forward combination.

Youthful Northland pivot Sam Nock makes his first start at scrumhalf to spark a backline where in-form Rieko Ioane, with nine tries this year, forms a dangerous back three with exciting runners Melani Nanai and Declan O'Donnell.

Several players have niggling injuries after a demanding month which has forced Umaga to sit out Augustine Pulu, Blake Gibson, Matt Duffie and George Moala. Additionally Sonny Bill Williams has not recovered sufficiently from the knee injury that forced him off against the Chiefs, and Charlie Faumuina has tonsillitis.

However there is star quality on the bench led by All Black Ofa Tu'ungafasi, the impressive Akira Ioane and the exciting flyhalf Stephen Perofeta.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai,14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Tinoai Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (captain),
1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 Jordan Trainor.

Date: Friday, June 2
Venue: Apia Park, Apia
Kick-off: 20.35 (19.35 NZ time; 17.35 AEST; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
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