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Rieko moves in for Blues

By RugbyPass

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The Blues will be looking to get their season back on track as they face their third South African opponent in as many weeks.

The loss of All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams shifts Rieko Ioane into second five, where he will partner with George Moala.

Williams is set to miss up to eight weeks after breaking his wrist in week five against the Stormers.

Promising flyhalf Stephen Perofeta pairs with Jonathan Ruru in the halves, who have both earned their first starts of the season.

Jordan Trainor will start on the right wing and Mike Tamoaieta at tighthead prop in place of All Blacks Matt Duffie and Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who will take up one of their mandated rest games.

Josh Goodhue starts at lock for the injured Scott Scrafton.

Head coach Tana Umaga is hoping for an accurate 80-minute performance at home.

“We’ve trained well but we can’t give our opponents the sorts of starts we have given this season. We are looking to be a lot more accurate, to protect our own ball much better, get a good platform upfront and be more accurate in defence.

“We had one good game in South Africa but then let ourselves down. At this level of competition, we need to perform for 80 minutes and look to improve with every outing.

“Injuries have cost us some players but we have others coming back. We have some players who have been working really hard in training and for the Development team that have put their hands up and deserve an opportunity.

“We are looking forward to getting back on home territory at Eden Park and keen to produce a strong performance for our fans.”

BLUES

1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons (C), 3. Mike Tamoaieta, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Josh Goodhue, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Murphy Taramai, 8. Akira Ioane 9. Jonathan Ruru, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 11. Melani Nanai, 12. Rieko Ioane, 13. George Moala, 14. Jordan Trainor,15. Michael Collins.
Reserves: 16. Leni Apisai, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Jimmy Tupou, 20. Kara Pryor, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. TJ Faiane.

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