Blues v Highlanders



  • Blues named.

    The wet weather should be an interesting too.

    Pauliasi Manu, James Parsons (C), Charlie Faumuina, Jimmy Tupou, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jerome Kaino, Blake Gibson, Murphy Taramai; Augustine Pulu, Ihaia West, Rene Ranger, George Moala, Rieko Ioane, Matt Duffie, Michael Collins.

    Replacements: Matt Moulds, Sam Prattley, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Akira Ioane or Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai.



  • throwing the heavy artillery out this week with Moala & Ranger.



  • Gotta feel for Nanai getting dropped!



  • @Tim I think the weather has played a factor in this. I think in the long run Nanai has a good shot at shifting to fullback - but in this game with the weather they probably need Collins' boot and his lack of speed is not as likely to get exposed.

    I don't think Akira joking around on the bench last week would have done him any favours - don't mind seeing him benched.

    A lot of people saying this is must win for the Highlanders but I think the same applies for the Blues - this is eerily similar to last year's round 3 game v Canes. Blues are almost certain to lose next weekend in Christchurch so need a derby win to keep pace.



  • @KiwiMurph looks as though Akira could be dropped altogether and Tana may go with Pryor.



  • @ACT-Crusader

    From the Blues website:

    http://theblues.co.nz/blacks-return-starting-line/

    There’s a further change in the forwards with North Harbour newcomer Murphy Taramai to make his first Super Rugby start at No 8. Coach Tana Umaga said Murphy has been rewarded for his excellent form in the pre-season and first two games, while Akira Ioane will provide his energy from the bench.

    I'm assuming it's an injury issue, or a mistake.



  • Kara had been playing 8 in the dev games too I think...seems he has fallen out of favour quickly.



  • @taniwharugby said in Blues v Highlanders:

    Kara had been playing 8 in the dev games too I think...seems he has fallen out of favour quickly.

    Still early days in a long season. Hopefully he gets a shot because I think he's a good versatile player to have at the least as a bench option.



  • Agreed its a long season - Kara Pryor didn't play too many minutes at the start of last season but by the end was starting games. I think it's more of a function of Taramai having overtaken him at this stage rather than Pryor falling out of favour but lots can happen - this weekend will say a lot about whether Taramai is up to this level. He looked mobile and physical vs the Rebels but this is a whole other ballgame. Great name though!



  • @KiwiMurph said in Blues v Highlanders:

    @Tim I think the weather has played a factor in this. I think in the long run Nanai has a good shot at shifting to fullback - but in this game with the weather they probably need Collins' boot and his lack of speed is not as likely to get exposed.

    I don't think Akira joking around on the bench last week would have done him any favours - don't mind seeing him benched.

    A lot of people saying this is must win for the Highlanders but I think the same applies for the Blues - this is eerily similar to last year's round 3 game v Canes. Blues are almost certain to lose next weekend in Christchurch so need a derby win to keep pace.

    Not sure I agree, this is our first home game and we are 1-1 for two away games, one giving us 5 points.

    Too early in that context to be must win.



  • @Kirwan Agreed. You can only look into around 35 mins for your last match and at that point you were good for a point 15-9?

    This match will be the test to see how your lot are going. In saying that, you lose a truck load in having that lad out



  • I don't think there is much of debate about who is better between Gibson and Pryor

    Taramai is someone Jackson trusts and I presume his versatility has pushed him up the rankings.



  • @Kirwan The Rebels look like they will struggle to win a game all year so 5 points against them, even away from home, is almost a given. It's almost like being 0-1 at this stage.

    The Highlanders will be missing Ben Smith, Squire, Ash Dixon, Lentjes, Dan Pryor, Shane Christie etc etc so a home loss to them would be a huge missed opportunity.



  • NZ Herald has just named a team sheet - no Pryor.

    The Blues team for their match against the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm, is: Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, George Moala, Rene Ranger, Ihaia West, Augustine Pulu, Murphy Taramai, Blake Gibson, Jerome Kaino, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jimmy Tupou, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons (c), Pauliasi Manu.

    Reserves: Matt Moulds, Sam Prattley, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Akira Ioane, Billy Guyton, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai.



  • Pulse Energy Highlanders Team to play Blues at Eden Park

    Luke Whitelock and Marty Banks return from injury to take on the Blues in Auckland this weekend. However Liam Squire and James Lentjes are both out injured giving Gareth Evans, who entered the game a few minutes into last week’s clash, a start at Number 6. Elliot Dixon will again captain the side this time from openside flanker and Whitelock will complete the new look back row at 8.

    Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach, Tony Brown, has named a forward-heavy bench with six in the reserves including Aki Seiuli at prop and locks, Jackson Hemopo and Joe Wheeler. Dillon Hunt will cover the loose forwards and make his Super Rugby debut should he take the field. Kayne Hammington and Marty Banks will provide the back cover from the bench.

    The match will mark 50 games for the Highlanders for Highlander #197 Joe Wheeler. Wheeler made his debut in 2013.

    Pulse Energy Highlanders v Blues - 7.35pm Saturday 11th March, Eden Park, Auckland

    Daniel Lienert-Brown
    Liam Coltman
    Siosuia Halanukonuka
    Alex Ainley
    Tom Franklin
    Gareth Evans
    Elliot Dixon ( C )
    Luke Whitelock
    Aaron Smith
    Lima Sopoaga
    Tevita Li
    Rob Thompson
    Malakai Fekitoa
    Waisake Naholo
    Richard Buckman
    

    Reserves

    Sekonia Pole
    Aki Seiuli
    Siate Tokolahi
    Joe Wheeler
    Jackson Hemopo
    Dillon Hunt
    Kayne Hammington
    Marty Banks
    

    Unavailable due to injury: Liam Squire, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon , Dan Pryor, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Ben Smith, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes

    Out for season: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker



  • Ranger now is not a better player than Nanai, that's a fucking stupid selection. Based on the first couple of rounds, i think Rene should be most worried about the eventual return of SBW



  • Amid recalling his big guns, Umaga also delivered Akira Ioane a message, dropping the No 8 to the bench and replacing him with North Harbour's Murphy Taramai due to poor work-rate against the Chiefs.

    "Murphy is doing very well for us. He's been working hard and with his seven role he gives good support to Blake [Gibson]. Akira, probably not his best game in the weekend," Umaga said. "He knows that. As we've always said those that are performing and doing what we ask they'll get the reward so he gets a chance off the bench."



  • hopefully the kick up the arse Akira needs, huge upside, but not if he isn't gonna work hard.



  • @taniwharugby said in Blues v Highlanders:

    hopefully the kick up the arse Akira needs, huge upside, but not if he isn't gonna work hard.

    Good wakeup call for him, he was one of the hardest working players in the NPC last year.



  • More on Akira

    Ioane received the most stinging assessment from Umaga, who said openside flanker Blake Gibson too often waged a one-man fight to slow down the Chiefs' ball.
    "It probably wasn't Akira's best game, and he knows that," Umaga said.
    "It's just his all-out work, working for the entire time he's out there.
    "It was a very intense game and they put pressure on us in the forward pack."

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/sport/rugby/blues-call-up-six-all-blacks-starting-line-highlanders-clash