Blues freshen up for Force fixture
Cape Town - The Blues have stuck to a largely unchanged line-up for their Super Rugby clash against the Force at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 06:15 SA time.
There are only two changes from the starting line-up that beat the Bulls last weekend.
Young flank Blake Gibson gets a break after a highly physical game
against the Bulls, giving North Harbour loose forward Murphy Taramai his second start.
Coach Tana Umaga is also trying a new midfield option, with former
New Zealand Under-20 player TJ Faiane getting his first Super Rugby
start at inside centre, with George Moala moving out to second centre and Rieko
Ioane to come off the bench.
"Both Blake and Rieko are young players who have done extremely well
in five straight games this year. Blake had a few bumps and bruises
after last week and gets a chance to freshen up and Rieko has the
opportunity to provide impact off the bench.
"I am excited for TJ who has trained so hard and earned his
opportunity to start. It will present us with another option in midfield
and the chance for George to play a more expansive role at outside centre."
Faiane played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools and the New
Zealand Under-20s in 2014 and 2015, when he was also selected for
Auckland. He suffered ACL injuries which ruled him out of rugby for much
of 2015 and all of the 2016 season.
Umaga said the team expects a tough challenge from the Force
who will be motivated by the speculation that they may be dropped from
the Super Rugby competition under the suggested new format.
15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 TJ Faiane, 11
Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7
Murphy Taramai, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie
Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi / Sam
Prattley, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy
Guyton, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Rieko Ioane
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Billy
Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Isi
Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Matt
Philip, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Ben Daley
Substitutes: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Pek Cowan, 18
Shambeckler Vui, 19 Richard Hardwick, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Michael Ruru,
22 Ian Prior, 23 Robbie Coleman