Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s Super 14 franchises.
Mealamu leads Blues
All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu will captain the Blues when they face the Reds this Friday.
John Afoa and Anthony Boric are back in the starting mix, as is Joe Rokocoko. Jimmy Gopperth will partner former Force No 9 Chris Smylie.
There is still no room for Ali Williams who recently returned from a stint at the Crusaders.
Blues - 15 Paul Williams, 14 Josevata Rokocoko, 13 Anthoiny Tuitavake, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Smylie; 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Onoai’i Auva’a, 6 Jusatin Collins, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c) 1 Tevita Mailau.
Subs: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 *Dean Budd, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Taniela Moa, 21 Tasesa Lavea, 22 Rudi Wulf, *Frances Smith, Charlie Faumuina, *Winston Stanley, *Grayson Hart Michael Hobbs, Jamie Helleur.
AB’s back for Saders
Defending Super 14 champions, the Crusaders will welcome back the majority of their All Blacks for Friday’s clash against the Highlanders.
All Blacks Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Brad Thorn, Ross Filipo and Ben Franks have all been included in the 29-man squad for the Crusaders’ second warm-up match.
Leon MacDonald, who was troubled by a head injury last year, makes a second successive start while Stephen Brett will begin at 10.
Crusaders – 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Steve Alfeld; 8 Nasi Manu, 7 George Whitelock, 6 Jonathan Poff, 5 Ross Filipo, 5 Michael Paterson, 3 Bronson Murray, 2 Daniel Perrin, 1 Owen Franks.
Subs: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Brad Thorn, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Jared Payne, 23 Tim Bateman, 24 Adam Whitelock, 25 Richie McCaw, 26 Thomas Waldrom 27 Ben Franks, 28 Isaac Ross, Tyson Keats.
This post will be updated throughout the day.