Blues bolstered by returning All Blacks

Thu, 03 May 2018 06:45
Large patrick tuipulotu blues 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues welcome back the experience of captain Augustine Pulu, Patrick Tuipulotu and Jerome Kaino to their starting line-up for the Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in Sydney.

The return of the trio to start the game is positive news for the Blues, with Pulu having played 30 minutes off the bench last week, while Tuipulotu missed the game with illness. Kaino returns after a hamstring strain that sidelined him for the past three games.

There are still defections this week which means Northland and Maori All Black prop Ross Wright gets his first start at loosehead prop after seven games off the bench.

The loose forward trio form an impressive combination with Kaino's return alongside the in-form young guns Akira Ioane and Dalton Papalii.

Pulu teams with Stephen Perofeta to guide the team while Rieko Ioane and Orbyn Leger are again paired in the midfield. Replacement Tumua Manu, who has scored in each of his two games, moves to the right wing to allow for the debut of Caleb Clarke, who has recovered fully from appendicitis which ruled him out of the All Black Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games.

All Black Matt Duffie, who excelled slotting back to fullback in terrible weather conditions last week, retains his spot.

The match will be played at Brookvale Oval, the home of the Manly Warringah Rugby League side, with the Waratah's home ground of Alliance Stadium unavailable.

Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Tumua Manu, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Ben Nee-Nee/Lyndon Dunshea, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema.

Date: Saturday, May 5
Venue: Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (21.40 NZ time; 09.40 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Will Houston
TMO: George Ayoub

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 June 2018
Highlanders v Hurricanes 07h35 Dunedin
Sat, 02 June 2018
Blues v Rebels 05h15 Eden Park
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Wales v South Africa 21h00 RFK Stadium
Sun, 03 June 2018
Brumbies v Sunwolves 06h05 Canberra
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