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    All Blacks stars return for Blues

    2016-06-30 13:02

    Cape Town - Jerome Kaino, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Male Sa’u return to the Blues line-up for Saturday’s clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington.

    Kaino, Tu’ungafasi and Tuipulotu were involved with the All Blacks series against Wales while Sa’u played for Japan against Scotland.

    They will be welcome additions to the Blues, who have lost All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and third Test star George Moala to injury.

    There’s a relatively settled look to the side with a strong forward pack built around five current or former All Blacks, with the backs built around the core inside trio of Bryn Hall, Ihaia West and Piers Francis.

    Sa’u, who played on the wing for Japan in their international series at home, will return to his usual role of centre for the injured Moala.

    There is a welcome return of loose forward Blake Gibson to the reserves after missing six games after surgery to his thumb.

    The potential debutant is young North Harbour lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, bracketed with Hoani Matenga, who is ill.

    It is the final New Zealand derby match for the Blues who will complete their regular season with homes games against the Brumbies (Friday, July 8) and the Waratahs (Friday, July 15), both at Eden Park.

    Teams:

    Hurricanes

    15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reggie Goodes

    Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Tony Lambourn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Jason Woodward

    Blues

    15 Melani Nanai,14 Duffie, 13 Male S’au, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley

    Substitutes: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti/Hoani Matenga, Blake Gibson, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Matt Vaega/Lolagi Visinia

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    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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