Blues hand start to Matenga

Date published: April 6 2016

Lock Hoani Matenga will make his first Super Rugby start for the Blues when they take on neighbours the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

Matenga, who has played for Otago and Wellington, has been a real asset to the Blues this year, earning his start after strong performances off the bench. He will start as a replacement for the injured Patrick Tuipulotu, who will be out for two weeks with a fracture in his hand.

Matenga, a former guitarist with the Kiwi band Six60, has also had experience playing in France and Japan.

Prop Sam Prattley gets his first start of the season, coming in for Nic Mayhew, who is out for two to three weeks with a knee injury suffered in his debut against the Jaguares last week.

The rest of the starting team is unchanged from that which beat the Jaguares at North Harbour Stadium last weekend.

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 Blake Gibson, 6 Joe Edwards, 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 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala

Date: Friday, April 8
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock, Kane McBride
TMO: Shane McDermott