Blues make wholesale changes for Lions

Keo.co.za brings you the latest from New Zealand’s Super 14 franchises.

Blues make wholesale changes for Lions

Blues coach Pat Lam has named a radically changed team for this Friday’s must win clash against the Lions.

Scrumhalf Taniela Moa has been left out of the squad while an NZRU investigation into a bottle-throwing incident continues.

Isaia Toeava comes in one position to No 12 where he will partner Tasesa Lavea at flyhalf, while Anthony Tuitavake moves back to centre and Rudi Wulf takes his place on the wing.

The only doubt remains on the other wing where a hamstring niggle sees Joe Rokocoko bracketed with rookie Rene Ranger.

The changes up front see Josh Blackie return from his ankle injury to replace Onosai’i Auva’a while Anthony Boric takes over from fellow All Blacks lock Ali Williams. Charlie Faumuina comes in at loosehead prop at the expense of Tevita Mailau.

Blues – 15 Paul Williams, 14 Joe Rokocoko/Rene Ranger, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Isaia Toeava, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Josh Blackie, 6 Chris Lowrey, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Charlie Faumuina.
Subs: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Jay Williams, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Grayson Hart, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 Jimmy Gopperth/Ranger.

Weepu out of Force clash

Piri Weepu is out of the Hurricanes team to play the Western Force in Perth on Friday with a hamstring injury.

Coach Colin Cooper said the hamstring strain was only minor, but it was decided not to risk his key playmaker in the hope he would be fit for their home match against the Stormers next weekend.

Willie Ripia will wear the No 10 jersey in his place, with Daniel Kirkpatrick taking Ripia’s place on the bench.

Lock Jeremy Thrush, who missed the Hurricanes’ 17-33 loss to the Sharks with an elbow injury, is bracketed with Bryn Evans.

There were no other changes to the starting XV, with fullback Cory Jane cleared to start despite aggravating an ankle injury in Durban.

Hurricanes – 15 Cory Jane, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 David Smith, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Rodney So’oialo (c), 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Bryn Evans/Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.
Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Evans/Api Naikatini, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 21 Jason Kawau, 22 Tamati Ellison.

This thread will be updated throughout the day.