Blues team to face Brumbies

May 23 • General News, Super Rugby, Super Rugby News • 1838 Views • Comments Off on Blues team to face Brumbies

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Impressive young flanker Steven Luatua has been ruled out of Saturday night’s must-win match against the Brumbies atEdenPark.

 

The 22-year-old, who was one of eight Blues players called into the All Blacks Wider Training Group earlier this week, has failed to overcome a neck injury he suffered during last week’s loss to the Crusaders.

 

“He banged up his neck last week and it hasn’t freed up,” Blues head coach SirJohn Kirwansaid.

 

“We felt that he’d be playing at 80 per cent rather than a hundred and we’d like to put the athlete first. I made the decision and he’s not very happy about it but I’ve taken him out of the team.

 

“He’s got no real damage, he’s just had a pretty bad knock to the neck and shoulder and will be available for us next week.”

 

As a result Brendon O’Connor is promoted from the bench to start at blindside flanker.

 

Tighthead prop Angus Ta’avao tweaked his knee during training on Tuesday and has been bracketed with Sam Prattley. Ta’avao will have a run at today’s training session, with a call to be made on his availability later in the week.

 

The only change to the backline comes at second five-eighths where Francis Saili starts ahead of Jackson Willison.

 

“Jackson and Francis have been our form guys,” Kirwan said.

 

“I think Francis brought a real excitement to the game last week when he came on. We need him to step up with his vision and his verbals helping Noaksey out – looking up and making the right calls, but if he can bring his excitement and footwork then we’ll be really happy.”

 

The Blues team to face the Brumbies atEdenParkon Saturday night (kick-off 7.35pm) is:

 

Starting XV

 

15. Charles Piutau

14. Frank Halai

13. Rene Ranger

12. Francis Saili

11. George Moala

10. Chris Noakes

9. Piri Weepu

 

8. Peter Saili

7. Luke Braid

6. Brendon O’Connor

5. Ali Williams

4. Culum Retallick

3. Angus Ta’avao / Sam Prattley

2. Keven Mealamu

1. Tim Perry

 

Reserves

 

16. James Parsons

17. Sam Prattley / Ofa Tu’ungafasi

18. Anthony Boric

19. Kane Barrett

20. Jamison Gibson-Park

21.BadenKerr

22. Jackson Willison

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