Blues change four for Chiefs

11th Jul 2013, 15:17

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Back in action: Piri Weepu

Back in action: Piri Weepu

Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to his starting XV for his side's clash against the Chiefs on Saturday.

Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to his starting XV for his side's clash against the Chiefs on Saturday.

The men from Auckland are boosted by the return of All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu and scrum-half Piri Weepu, with the pair replacing James Parsons and Jamison Gibson-Park respectively.

Kirwan has lost one of his All Blacks though, with flanker Steven Luatua set for a four-week spell on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury. Kane Barrett starts at six in his absence.

Rene Ranger moves back into the midfield, allowing youngster Lolagi Visinia to slot in on the wing.

Number eight Peter Saili has been unwell in the build-up to the match and as a result is bracketed with Brendon O'Connor.

The Blues saw their chances of making the play-offs go up in smoke when they suffered two defeats on their tour to South Africa, but Kirwan insists they have plenty to play for regardless.

"It's about pride for us," Kirwan said.

"We've had a season that we expected and I think if we can finish with a great performance then it's been a real step in the right direction to put this franchise back on track.

"We all would have loved to have make the playoffs or been in contention this week; that hasn't happened but we've played some great football and we're heading in the right direction so we need to go out there and play for pride and show people that we are a force to be reckoned with going forward."

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili / Brendon O'Connor, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O'Connor / Sean Polwart, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Marty McKenzie.

Date:Saturday, July 13
Kick-off:19:35
Venue: Eden Park
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Garrett Williamson (New Zealand
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)