Blues stick with same side

Date published: July 6 2016

The Blues will take an unchanged side into their penultimate Super Rugby match of the season, against the Brumbies at Eden Park on Friday.

All of the stars of last week’s showdown against the Hurricanes will return, led by the front-row of new All Black Ofa Tu’ungafasi, captain James Parsons and Sam Prattley and the inspirational Jerome Kaino, who bagged two tries last week.

Key forwards Steven Luatua and Josh Bekhius, who went off with injuries last week, are set to start although the big Southland player will need to come through training and is bracketed with Scott Scrafton.

Likewise Piers Francis and Japan international Male Sa'u, both also injured out of the game in the second-half last week after strong first spell performances, have been selected to start. Sa'u, like Bekhuis, will need to come through a full training load this week and is bracketed with Matt Vaega.

The Blues will look for another strong forward display to provide opportunities for their backs with Melani Nanai again to start at full-back after his eye-catching display last week.

All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and George Moala have made progress with their recovery but not sufficiently to be considered for selection this week.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Male Sa'u/Matt Vaega, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis/Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Sam Prattley
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt Vaega/Michael Little, 23 Lolagi Visinia

Date: Friday, July 8
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe
Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill, Jamie Nutbrown
TMO: Shame McDermott