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    Sonny Bill earns first start for Blues

    2017-04-13 08:39

    Cape Town - All Black Sony Bill Williams will start at inside centre for the Blues in Saturday's clash with the Hurrcianes at Eden Park.

    Williams' selection is the only change to the starting line-up from last week’s match against the Highlanders.

    The All Black front row of Pauliasi Manu, skipper James Parsons and Charlie Faumuina are backed by promising young locks Scott Scrafton and Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, who has played in all seven games this year and scored his first Super Rugby try against the Highlanders last weekend.

    Steven Luatua is retained at number eight after his outstanding 80-minute contribution last week after returning from suspension, and joins fellow All Black star Jerome Kaino and Blake Gibson in the loose forwards.

    Williams, who has 33 Tests for the All Blacks, will make his first start for the Blues in the number 12 jersey with Rieko Ioane at ouside centre, which means All Black George Moala will come off the bench.

    Another All Black to provide impact off the bench is prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi, and if he plays, he will move to within one game of his 50th cap for the Blues.

    Teams:

    Blues

    15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Scott Scrafton, 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 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 George Moala

    Hurricanes

    15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May

    Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Cory Jane

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    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, Sydney Football Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15
    Friday, 02 March 2018
    • Blues v Chiefs, Eden Park 08:35
    • Reds v Brumbies, Suncorp Stadium 11:00

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