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Tuipulotu hits 50 for Blues

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Blues hoping history doesn't repeat against Sunwolves

 

In All Black lock Patrick Tuipulotu’s 50th game for the Blues, the side are out to prove that the Sunwolves are far from their bogey team.

The last time these teams met – week 17 last year – the Sunwolves emerged victorious 48-21, achieving a feat that no Australian side could match.

The 16-cap international Tuipulotu made his Blues debut in 2014, and has played in all six games this season.

On the back of a 63-40 defeat, ijury to George Moala (chest) sees another backline reshuffle, with Orbyn Leger joining Rieko Ioane in the midfield for his debut.

Big Northland wing Jordan Hyland gets his start on the right wing, and All Black Matt Duffie moves to the left wing.

Jimmy Tupou starts at blindside in place of the injured Jerome Kaino (hamstring).

“Most of our pack are reasonably settled and we will be looking for an improved performance from them this week,” said head coach Tana Umaga. “We were pleased with their attitude and defence last week.

“We need to get a go-forward platform and win the collision this week, while we must show more discipline and not allow them into the game. We also need to cherish our ball more and show patience.

“With George Moala out, we have adjusted our backline. Orbyn has trained with us all season and has impressed us with his attitude and his skillset. He deserves his chance.

“Jordan is a big and fast winger. If we can do our work upfront then we want to utilise his strength and speed to get us going forward.”

The Blues have also brought in young Auckland lock Ben Neenee to the reserves, after playing well for the Blues Development side.

Umaga said the team has settled well in Tokyo and looking forward to the game in considerably cooler conditions to last year’s clash.

BLUES

1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons (C), 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Josh Goodhue, 6. Jimmy Tupou, 7. Kara Pryor, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 11. Matt Duffie, 12. Rieko Ioane, 13. Orbyn Leger, 14. Jordan Hyland,15. Michael Collins.
Reserves: 16. Matt Moulds, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Mike Tamoaieta, 19. Ben Neenee, 20. Dalton Papalii, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. TJ Faiane.

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Blues hoping history doesn't repeat against Sunwolves