Nonu, Weepu fit to face Bulls
Pretoria - Ma'a Nonu and Piri Weepu will both start their first games for the Blues against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Kick-off is at 19:10.
According to the Stuff.co.nz website
, the two former Hurricanes players have been selected by Pat Lam as he tries to turn around the dreadful start the team have had to the season, losing both their opening games.
Weepu will come into the side at scrumhalf in place of Alby Mathewson, who drops to the bench, while Nonu slots in at inside centre with Benson Stanley going out one place to outside centre and Rene Ranger moving onto the wing.
In all, there are eight changes to the Blues side that lost 29-14 to the Chiefs in Hamilton last Friday.
Charlie Faumuina has recovered from a knee injury to start at tighthead prop in place of Tevita Mailau, while Pauliasi Manu replaces Tom McCartney at loosehead.
In the absence of Jerome Kaino who suffered a shoulder injury last week, Chris Lowrey moves to No 8 as Luke Braid makes his first start of the season at blindside flank. Brad Mika remains on the bench.
In the backs, Gareth Anscombe will also make his first run-on appearance for the Blues at flyhalf in place of the injured Michael Hobbs after coming off the bench last week.
Ranger returning to the left wing in place of the injured Rudi Wulf is part of an all new look outside back combination as Sherwin Stowers comes onto the right wing and Lachie Munro, who has overcome an ankle injury, replaces the now injured Isaia Toeava.
"After a long trip over and then playing at altitude, we have to consider a few factors when naming the 22, along with who we have fit and available to play," Lam said.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ EngelbrechtBlues:
15 Lachie Munro, 14 Sherwin Stowers, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain) 1, Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Bradley Mika, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Hadleigh Parkes, 22 David Raikuna