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    Blues boosted by skipper's return

    2018-07-05 08:55

    Cape Town - The Blues have been boosted by the return of their captain Augustine Pulu for their Super Rugby derby with the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

    Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.

    Pulu takes over from Sam Nock in the starting line-up and is joined in the matchday squad by another leader in stand-in captain James Parsons, who will come off the bench.

    Pulu is the only change to the starting line-up from the team that beat the Reds handsomely at Eden Park last weekend, while Akira Ioane, who this week confirmed his commitment to the club, is the only Blues player to have started in every game to date in 2018.

    Veteran back-rower Jerome Kaino will become the second most capped Blues player when he starts on the blindside flank in Wellington.

    Kaino, who heads to France after the season, will play his 138th game for the Blues on Saturday, to pass Tony Woodcock, and sit second on the all-time Blues list behind Keven Mealamu.

    Coach Tana Umaga is confident Kaino will again be a key motivating factor for his side.

    "Jerome means a lot to this team and achieving the milestone is great for him," he said.

    "The team wants to send him on his way in the best way we can and that is with performance. And if we get a good performance, the results will come.

    "We get valuable leadership back in the squad with Augustine and James, which is important in derby games against the likes of the Hurricanes. That said, both Sam Nock and Matt Moulds performed well last week.

    "Our attitude around the breakdown was a key for us last week against the Reds, which created some front-foot ball for our backs. Our forwards really dug-in. There are some work-ons around set piece as there always is, but we need that same attitude on attack and defence again.

    "I am sure the Hurricanes will be looking at ways to rectify their situation after three losses in a row, but we have nothing to lose. We will go down there and throw everything at them, get some pride and respect back and also make sure we send our High Chief away on a good note."

    Teams:

    Hurricanes

    15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Wes Goosen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith

    Substitutes: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Ben Lam

    Blues

    15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman

    Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane

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    Fixtures

    Friday, 31 January 2020
    • Blues v Chiefs, Eden Park 08:05
    • Brumbies v Reds, GIO Stadium 10:15
    • Sharks v Bulls, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 19:10
    Saturday, 01 February 2020
    • Sunwolves v Rebels, Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium 05:45
    • Crusaders v Waratahs, Trafalgar Park 08:05
    • Stormers v Hurricanes, Cape Town 15:05
    • Jaguares v Lions, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
    Friday, 07 February 2020
    • Highlanders v Sharks, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:05
    • Brumbies v Rebels, GIO Stadium 10:15

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