The following is a Media Release from The Blues Rugby franchise.
BLUES SQUAD READY FOR INTENSE HIT-OUT
The Blues [rugby team] are set to travel south on Friday, to play the Chiefs in the team’s third and final pre-season match of 2016.
While no points will be posted on the official Super Rugby table, the game will provide valuable experience for the team – many of whom have yet to play the Blues’ closest rivals.
Coach Tana Umaga said the team is looking forward to the two-half style game, which will further simulate an in-season match for the players. “This game is everyone’s last hit-out, so it’ll probably be a bit more Super Rugby intense. We’ve got some guys coming back from 7s, making their first game of 15s for a long time, so we’ll be incorporating them and continue building combinations.”
“And there’s still positions up for grabs, which some guys have to work for,” he said.
The game will be hosted by the Chiefs and played in Counties-Manukau territory at ECOLight Stadium.
Tickets are available here, with kick-off at 5.05pm. The game will also be shown live on Sky Sport 1 from 5.00pm.
The team is:
1: Ofa Tu-ungafasi
2: Quentin MacDonald
3: Sione Mafileo
4: Hoani Matenga
5: Josh Bekhuis
6: Jerome Kaino (c) *pictured
7: Blake Gibson
8: Steven Luatua
9: Bryn Hall
10: Ihaia West
11: Tevita Li
12: George Moala
13: Rene Ranger
14: Melani Nanai
15: Lolagi Visinia
RESERVES: James Parsons, Sam Prattley, Namatahi Waa, Charlie Faumuina , Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Joe Edwards, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Male Sa’u, Rieko Ioane and Matt Duffie.
Note: Akira Ioane has been removed due to a hamstring complaint.
The Blues kick-off the 2016 Super Rugby season, hosting The Highlanders at Eden Park, Auckland on February 26th.