Stormers vs. Blues
Tim last edited by Duluth
17 May 2017
All Black Sonny Bill Williams will return from injury for the Blues in their Super Rugby against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday morning (NZ time).
Williams missed last week’s home match against the Cheetahs with concussion, but has been fully cleared to play in South Africa in the match at DHL Newlands at 7pm Friday (local time) which is 5am Saturday (NZ Time).
Fellow All Black Ofa Tu’ungafasi gets his second start of the season after his man-of-the-match performance coming on for the injured Pauliasi Manu in the win over the Cheetahs at Eden Park last weekend.
The only other change from the starting line-up that beat the Cheetahs sees Gerard Cowley-Tuioti return to partner fellow in-form lock Scott Scrafton with All Black Patrick Tuipulotu to add real thrust off the bench.
Piers Francis, who came off with injury at halftime last weekend, has recovered sufficiently to be named to start at first-five, with Bryn Gatland returning to the squad in the reserves.
Melani Nanai, who has bagged five tries this season, retains his spot at fullback with Michael Collins to come off the bench.
Head Coach Tana Umaga said the team had settled well after the long flight from New Zealand and were looking forward to what he expects will be a tough challenge against the Stormers.
“We knew this back end of the season was full of challenges with our travel schedule. We have planned for it and we do have a number of players coming back from injury for us, and some hopefully ready to be considered back in New Zealand next week,” he said.
“The Stormers at Newlands are a formidable challenge for us. We’ve played well for the last month and need to continue to improve every game as we look to produce an 80-minute performance.”
Players not available because of injury include Jerome Kaino (knee), Pauliasi Manu (calf), Matt Moulds (knee), Ihaia West (ankle) and Jimmy Tupou (hamstring). Stephen Perofeta (ankle) has successfully returned to action and will complete his return to play with a second club game this week.
The game starts at 5am (NZ time) on Saturday.
The Blues team is:
1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 3 Charlie Faumuina, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5 Scott Scrafton, 6 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 8 Akira Ioane, 9 Augustine Pulu, 10 Piers Francis, 11 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 13. George Moala, 14 Matt Duffie, 15 Melani Nanai.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Michael Collins.
Kirwan last edited by
Who cares about SBW? Look at the back three, finally.
Surprised and happy to see Nanai start at fullback. Much better than Collins and Blues have been going for broke going for tries lately turning down penalties so Nanai makes more sense on that front too.
SBW needs a big game.
Stormers will back themselves to win after beating Chiefs at Cape Town. Blues themselves will be confident and need to keep winning. Should be a cracker
Tim last edited by
Well, I see that Tana has finally stopped blocking my calls - that's pretty much my preferred XV, except for being forced to start Tu’ungafasi at LH prop.
Should get good contributions off the bench from Tuipulotu, Pryor, and Hodgman. Faiva's have some doubt about them.
taniwharugby last edited by
Hopefully Moala gives his outsides some decent ball, although I expect he'll roam a bit with Ioane slotting in at 13 in different plays
Tim last edited by
All the sports betting sites have the teams at even odds.
Frye last edited by
15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Damian de Allende
Frye last edited by
That's a pretty good Stormers team. I think with the turnaround and travel the Blues have, it will work in the home teams favour. My money would be on the Stormers.
A big performance from SBW is what is needed here. What better chance to stamp his mark then to put in a game winning shift?
Although I truly don't think I'd be surprised if Treeby came away with the points decision.
It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the Stormers assistant coach Paul Feeney vs Blues battle of inside knowledge.
This has a bit of a feeling of a down to the wire/crazy game that could go either way (Similar to Stormers v Chiefs).
The ref Van Heerden won't be doing the Blues any favours (he's rubbish) but Kiwi teams usually get decent support in Cape Town so I could see plenty of pro-Blues in the crowd.
Dice last edited by Dice
Can't complain too much with the line-up, although I was sneakily hoping to see Faiane and SBW in the midfield.
I thought Collins was going to start this week because they mentioned he was on the bench last week for rest, but it looks like he was just dropped.
This is a massive game for us. Even if we manage to scrape through with a win, we have to travel all the way back to face the Chiefs on a short turnaround. Two long flights in less than a week is pretty rough. Plus that game would be our 3rd short turnaround in the last 4 games.
Sad to see Faiane out. Would rather see him and Moala in the midfield together. Hope we don't lose Faiane as I feel that he should be our 12 for the next 5-10 years. Hopefully SBW begins to show his quality.
@African-Monkey Completely agree. Faiane last week was better than anything SBW has produced. He looks the goods. I think he is a good chance of sticking around with the Blues though - the Blues stuck by Faiane through two years of ACL injuries.
ACT Crusader last edited by
Yeah Faiane looked the goods in what has been a troublesome area (midfield) for the Blues this season.
I don't mind them starting SBW. You never know coming back from injury how long someone might last.
Also Moala hasn't been great shakes in the midfield either.
Tana looking for his two ABs to step it up.
Dice last edited by
Looks like Gibson might be injured. Quelle surprise!
Parsons carry leads to turnover. Quelle surprise!
Shocking discipline from us so far.
God I can't stand the co-commentator that's doing this game. He's worse than Skinstad.
Oh man this could be a long night.
Blues destroy the stormers scrum after a good battle with the ref not even telling the stormers to use it, no penalty. Awful.