Minor tweaks for Blues

Date published: April 14 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Lolagi_Visinia_Blues

There is a settled look to the Blues side for their Super Rugby match against the Sharks at Eden Park on Saturday.

Tana Umaga has made only two changes from the side that lost narrowly to the Chiefs last weekend.

Lolagi Visinia returns from injury to regain his place at full-back, with his kicking game considered important for this match, despite his replacement Melani Nanai starring with a superb solo try.

Super Rugby centurion Tanerau Latimer is bracketed at loose forward with Northland’s Kara Pryor.

If selected, Latimer will make his debut for the Blues after being sidelined with a long-term calf injury while it would be a first start for Pryor, who has four Blues caps this year off the bench.

The Blues will make a final decision on Friday after checking how Latimer comes through today’s sessions, after training fully with the team since last week.

Counties Manukau back Piers Francis will again start outside Ihaia West in the midfield, with scans clearing him of any neck and spinal injury concerns after he was stretchered off early in the game against the Chiefs as a precautionary measure.

The team will wear black armbands in recognition of the passing of former Blues lock Kurtis Haiu with a moment’s silence before the start of the game.

The game is also the anniversary of the original Super 12 final in 1996 when the Blues beat the Natal Sharks, with a number of players attending and Joeli Vidiri to deliver the match ball on to the field.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer or Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Hoani Matenga, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Sam Prattley
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Kara Pryor or Joe Edwards, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala

Date: Saturday, April 16
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert, Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen

COMMENTS