All Blacks ready for Cheetahs
Dunedin - The Blues have been bolstered by the return of World Cup winning All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Ma’a Nonu for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs at Eden Park, with the destructive duo poised to resume their Blues careers from the bench.
Blues coach John Kirwan says it is better for them to start off the bench.
“The hard thing for them is to go straight from no rugby into Super Rugby after the other guys have been playing for four weeks and that’s the reason they’re starting off the bench,” Kirwan told the Blues' official website
“It’s important to give them time to get used to the pace and impact of it. But it’s really exciting for us, it’s great to have them back, they’ve both been training really hard and it’s great to finally have them available.”
The Blues bench has also been boosted by the inclusion of veteran lock Hayden Triggs who arrived in Auckland from Japan last month to replace the injured Culum Retallick.
Kirwan has made six changes to the starting XV that lost 39-36 to the Lions last week.
After impressing when he came off the bench, Simon Hickey has been given the nod to start at flyhalf ahead of Chris Noakes.
Jackson Willison replaces Pita Ahki at inside centre, while Charles Piutau moves to his favoured position of fullback in place of Benji Marshall who drops to the bench as Tevita Li starts on the left wing.
Kick-off is at 08:35 (SA time) on Saturday.Teams:Blues:
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Substitutes: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Hayden Triggs, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Ma'a Nonu, 23 Benji MarshallCheetahs:
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Lappies Labuschagné, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Howard Mnisi