Veteran hooker Keven Mealamu is hoping his return to Super Rugby action will help the Blues bounce back from a poor start to their campaign.
All Blacks veteran Keven Mealamu is hoping his return to Super Rugby action will help the Blues bounce back from a poor start to their campaign.
The Blues are set to welcome back two Test centurions to their front row as Mealamu is joined by Tony Woodcock in adding some experience to the injury-hit side that went down 21-29 to the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Francis Saili (foot) and skipper Luke Braid (ankle) are both on the doubtful list while Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino are not available for selection yet.
But Mealamu has promised a big effort against the Crusaders on Friday.
''We want to come back and perform, so we put the pressure on ourselves,'' Mealamu told Fairfax NZ news
''We've been given an opportunity to get into good nick and now it's about making sure we transfer that on to the rugby field. We're pretty excited to get out there.''
With both teams having enjoyed the lion's share of possession in their opening clashes, only to finish empty handed, Mealamu admits the Crusaders will also be eager to make a statement.
''I know it's early in the campaign, but we're both desperate for points and we definitely want to make sure we put out a good performance,'' said Mealamu, who added that he expected another attritional Kiwi derby.
''I think all around New Zealand at the moment there are a few sore bodies. It's early in the campaign, everyone's feeling fit and strong and everyone is willing to chuck that much more at the game. It's pretty physical at this point.''