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    Blues name team to tackle Bulls

    2017-03-23 07:56

    Auckland - The Blues have made just one change to their starting line-up to take on the Bulls in a Super Rugby clash at QBE Stadium in North Harbour on Saturday.

    All Black Charlie Faumuina is named in the front row in his expected return from injury, although it will be dependent on how he recovers from Thursday’s final training session. He has been bracketed with North Harbour’s Sione Mafileo.

    The rest of the starting team is unchanged from last week’s 33-24 defeat to the Crusaders.

    Coach Tana Umaga said while the team let a 24-5 winning lead slip late in the game, there were plenty of positives last week.

    “We wanted clear progress from the week before in terms of our lineout and our error rate. We got that. The lineout was excellent, we had a stable platform, and we had much less handling mistakes,” Umaga told the Blues’ official website.

    “As a result, off the back of a stable platform we were strong in the first half with three excellent tries. Overall our defence was quite good, but in the second half we could not find a way to stop the rolling maul. We did not help ourselves with a number of penalties which allowed the Crusaders to be a constant threat inside our red zone.

    “We are looking for further progress this week - and every week.”

    Flank Blake Gibson will play his 18th game for the Blues, while All Black prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who will again come off the bench on Saturday, edges to within three games of his 50th cap for the Blues.

    Saturday’s clash is scheduled for 08:35 (SA time).

    Teams:

    Blues

    15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu

    Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane

    Bulls

    15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Nick de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboko

    Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 John-Roy Jenkinson

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    Fixtures

    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, Forsyth Barr Stadium 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, AMI Stadium 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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