Planet Rugby

Blues change one for Reds

30th April 2014 06:45

Share:

Brendon O Connor in action for the Blues

Brendon O'Connor: Starts at seven

Blues boss Sir John Kirwan has made just one injury-enforced change to his starting XV for Friday's clash with the Reds in Auckland.

Brendon O'Connor starts at openside flanker in the absence of skipper Luke Braid who took a blow to the shoulder in last week's victory over the Waratahs.

"Luke's been playing well for us and is totally committed but Brendon is an outstanding replacement for him," Kirwan told the Blues' official website.

"He's a very good player in his own right so it's a really good opportunity for him."

Talismanic hooker Keven Mealamu will assume the captaincy duties in Braid's absence.

Kirwan has also made one positional change with Peter Saili switching to blindside flanker and Jerome Kaino moving to number eight as Kirwan looks for more control at the base of the scrum.

"Jerome can play both positions pretty well and together they bring a little bit of edge, they're both physical and strong ball carriers. We did the same switch at half time last week and it frees Pete up to roam around a bit more," added Kirwan.

On the bench Ofa Tu'ungafasi replaces the injured Sam Prattley while outside back George Moala comes in for Pita Ahki.

The Blues are up against a smarting Reds outfit who have lost their last three games in a row and who will be eager to put in a strong performance for livewire fly-half Quade Cooper who is expected to play his 100th game for the Queensland-based franchise on Friday.

The Reds boast an impressive record against the Blues having won their last four encounters, and Kirwan is expecting a fierce battle.

"They'll be desperate so we can't wait, we've just got to really hoe in and replicate the energy and effort that we put in last week," he said.

"It's a big night for us and we feel like we're the underdogs but if we can get the same intensity we had last week it should put us in good stead.

"Last week was what we needed to do from an intensity and effort point of view and that now needs to be our minimum, we need to at least match that and make sure we step it up and add a little bit.

"I think we can improve in areas as well. All the games have been going right down to the wire so it's going to be a tough match but I'm confident if we can bring that attitude then we'll be in the hunt."

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Peter Saili, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Steven Luatua, 22 Ihaia West, 23 George Moala.

Date: Friday, May 2
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 (local, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00