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Blues call on Sam Darry for semi-final as team named for Brumbies

By Ben Smith
Sam Darry of the Blues celebrates on full time during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between Blues and Hurricanes at Eden Park, on May 11, 2024, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The Blues have called upon young lock Sam Darry to step up and fill the absence of injured captain Patrick Tuipulotu for the side’s semi-final clash with the Brumbies.

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The enforced change is only one as the Blues prepare for a home semi-final at Eden Park with a place in the final on the line. The match-up is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final which the Blues won 20-19 at the same ground.

Flanker Dalton Papali’i will fill the captain’s role in Tuipulotu’s absence.

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The Blues are on a 14-game winning streak at Eden Parkand when the Brumbies visited earlier in the season they were handed a 46-7 defeat.

But the Brumbies have won their last three games against New Zealand teams, beating the Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders.

Blues head coach Vern Cotter reiterated that the game plan for the home side won’t change much.

“We don’t need to do anything drastically different just because we’re playing a Semi Final,” head coach Vern Cotter said.

“We know what’s served us well this season, strong ball carries, breakdown efficiency and astute decision making – nothing changes on Friday night,” he said.

It will be a special night for Blues loose forward Akira Ioane who has confirmed this season will be his last in blue before heading overseas.

“Aki is a veteran of this team, a man of action and someone who commands respect from both his team mates and his opposition,” said Cotter.

“The boys know this could be the last time he runs out on Eden Park in a Blues jersey and we want to make sure we put in a performance worthy of the occasion,” he said.

“The crowd and atmosphere are everything in these knockout matches.”

Blues semi-final team to play the Brumbies:

1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
2. Ricky Riccitelli
3. Marcel Renata
4. Sam Darry
5. Josh Beehre
6. Akira Ioane
7. Dalton Papali’i (c)
8. Hoskins Sotutu
9. Finlay Christie
10. Harry Plummer
11. Caleb Clarke
12. AJ Lam
13. Rieko Ioane
14. Mark Tele’a
15. Stephen Perofeta

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Reserves:

16. Kurt Eklund
17. Joshua Fusitu’a
18. Angus Ta’avao
19. James Thompson
20. Adrian Choat
21. Taufa Funaki
22. Corey Evans
23. Cole Forbes

Players not considered: Patrick Tuipulotu (knee), Bryce Heem (calf), Jordan Lay (ankle, season), Zarn Sullivan (knee)

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Comments

1 Comment
S
Scott 34 days ago

Most important two weekends in the careers of Sam Darry and Isaiah Walker-Leawere. In two weeks, one will be an All Black lock along with Scott Barrett, Tupou Vaa’i, and Quentin Strange.

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