'Hungry and determined': Blues name star-studded side for GF rematch
All Blacks Mark Telea is set to return for the Blues this weekend when they take on the champion Crusaders in their highly anticipated Super Rugby Pacific final rematch at Eden Park.
Telea stole the show in the Blues’ opening match of the season, having run for more than 220 metres in the teams emphatic 40-point win over the Highlanders.
After losing to the Brumbies in Super Round, the Blues were dealt a tough injury blow as the star winger was ruled out of last weekend’s trip to the capital due to concussion.
But in a big boost for the Blues, Telea has been named in their matchday squad to take on the Crusaders at 7:05pm NZT on Saturday.
The Blues have made four changes to their starting XV, although Telea is the only difference in the backline.
Prop Alex Hodgman is set to make his first appearance for the Blues since their round one win over the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Hodgman will pack down in the front row alongside Ricky Riccitelli and James Lay, who both started against the Hurricanes in Wellington last weekend.
All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu has also made way for James Tucker, in what is the only other change in the forward pack.
The Blues have turned to their all-star backline once again for this crunch clash with the title holders, which includes Finlay Christie and Beauden Barrett in the halves.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said the team will be “hungry and determined” to avenge their defeat in last year’s final at Eden Park.
“It was a bruising encounter against the Hurricanes last weekend with a few sore bodies around Blues HQ at the start of the week,” coach Leon MacDonald said in a statement.
“Motivation for this match wasn’t an issue; I know the boys still hurt from the final last year and want to put in a strong performance against a Crusaders side who we know will be hungry and determined.”
Blues team to take on Crusaders
- Alex Hodgman
- Ricky Riccitelli
- James Lay
- James Tucker
- Cameron Suafoa
- Adria Choat
- Dalton Papali’i
- Hoskins Sotutu
- Finlay Christie
- Beauden Barrett
- Caleb Clarke
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
- Rieko Ioane
- Mark Telea
- Stephen Perofeta
- Soane Vikena
- Jordan Lay
- Nepo Laulala
- Tom Robinson
- Taine Plumtree
- Taufa Funaki
- Bruce Heem
- Zarn Sullivan
Unavailable: Sam Darry, Joshua Fusitu’a, Akira Ioane, Sam Nock, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tu’ungafasi
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G'day, Nick. Sorry to see you've gone from the other place. It will be a poorer experience for many because of it. As others mentioned, your detailed analysis and commitment to engaging with every person commenting on your articles stood out and was the main reason I ended up joining 5 years ago. I'll be spending a bit more time over here now I think.Go to comments
Think you boys forgot that Graham Henry coached the 2011 All Blacks and that Hansen/ Smith were assistants. The cross was shouldered by Henry. Erasmus' point here is that he and Nienaber are looking to win back to back WC's as head coaching combos. A bit of a reach because he is now the DoR and not the coach with the title anymore, but we all know who the real brain behind this Bok squad/strategy is.Go to comments