Experienced trio back for Blues
Sydney - The Blues welcome back the experience of captain Augustine
Pulu, Patrick Tuipulotu and Jerome Kaino to their starting line-up for the
Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Kick-off is at 11:45 SA time.
The return of the trio to start the game is positive news
for the Blues, with Pulu having played 30 minutes off the bench last week,
while Tuipulotu missed the game with illness. Kaino returns after a hamstring
strain that sidelined him for the past three games.
“We have some key players starting to slowly return over the
next couple of weeks but it is welcome news to have these three players back,
not just with their rugby ability but especially their experience,” said coach
There are still defections this week which means Northland
and Maori All Black prop Ross Wright gets his first start at loosehead prop
after seven games off the bench.
The loose forward trio form an impressive combination with
Kaino’s return alongside the in-form young guns Akira Ioane and Dalton Papalii.
Pulu teams with Stephen Perofeta to guide the team while
Rieko Ioane and Orbyn Leger are again paired in the midfield. Replacement Tumua
Manu, who has scored in each of his two games, moves to the right wing to allow
for the debut of Caleb Clarke, who has recovered fully from appendicitis which
ruled him out of the All Black Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games.
All Black Matt Duffie, who excelled slotting back to
full-back in terrible weather conditions last week, retains his spot.
“It is back to the basics again for us. We need to win our
set piece and the collision, hold our discipline, play positively with patience
with some go-forward ball, communicate well and defend to plan,” said Umaga.
“We are working hard. Each week we do some things well but
one or two things let us down. We know this is a tough test with our young and
inexperienced team, but we are ready to put a performance together.”
The match will be played at Brookvale Oval, the home of the
Manly Warringah rugby league side, with the Waratah’s home ground of Alliance
15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Curtis Rona, 23 Bryce Hegarty
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Tumua Manu, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright
Subtitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Ben Nee-Nee/Lyndon Dunshea, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema