Blues team announced to face the Sharks

Jun 27 • General News, Super Rugby, Super Rugby News • 2408 Views • Comments Off on Blues team announced to face the Sharks

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Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has named his side for Sunday morning’s must-win match against the Sharks at King’s Park in Durban (kick-off 12.50am NZT).

 

With Keven Mealamu and Rene Ranger not arriving in the Republic until Monday and Tuesday evening respectively, the All Blacks duo will make their impacts felt off the bench, while lock Culum Retallick is suffering from illness and has been bracketed on the bench with Kane Barrett.

 

Kirwan said the disruption caused by late arrivals of key players had been mitigated by the enthusiasm the new All Blacks had injected into the camp.

 

“It was really important that these guys (Mealamu and Ranger) got home after they’d been with the All Blacks so today will be our first training run together since the players left,” Kirwan said.

 

“It’s probably not the most ideal preparation but we’ve planned for it and we understood how it was going to be. The boys are really excited and refreshed so that has compensated for it.”

 

Captain Ali Williams is set to join an illustrious group of players featuring Keven Mealamu, John Afoa and Tony Woodcock who have played 100 games for the Blues, and Kirwan was quick to acknowledge Williams’ contribution to the franchise over the last decade.

 

“It’s great for someone like him; he’s such a proud Blues man. He’s been one of the key guys driving the importance of the game this week for us as a franchise and I think it’s an added bonus that Ali gets to play his 100th game for the Blues and he joins a very special club.”

 

Currently sitting in eighth position on the Investec Super Rugby ladder with three games remaining, it’s a must-win match for the Blues if they are to have a chance of making the playoffs, and Kirwan said his side was embracing the knock-out nature of this game.

 

“It’s a Test match for us and the players are very excited about it. It feels a little bit like the beginning of the season for us and hopefully the game will be a little bit like that.

 

“The guys are really excited, they’ve come together really well, we’ve been chatting all week about how important this game is for our season so it’ll be very interesting to see how they deal with that sudden death pressure.”

 

The Blues team to face the Sharks at King’s Park inDurbanis:

 

Starting XV

 

15. Charles Piutau

14. Frank Halai

13. Jackson Willison

12. Francis Saili

11. George Moala

10. Chris Noakes

9. Piri Weepu

 

8. Peter Saili

7. Luke Braid

6. Steven Luatua

5. Ali Williams (C)

4. Anthony Boric

3. Angus Ta’avao

2. James Parsons

1. Tim Perry

 

Reserves

 

16. Keven Mealamu

17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi

18. Kane Barrett / Culum Retallick

19. Brendon O’Connor

20. Jamison Gibson-Park

21.BadenKerr

22. Rene Ranger

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