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Blues v Highlanders preview

Blues Highlanders

The Blues take on the Highlanders in Auckland for Round 8 of the 2013 Super Rugby tournament

The Blues are set to take on the Highlanders at Eden Park on Friday, 5 April 2013, in a match that will sure spark some great running.

The Blues have only one two of their outings this season, while the Highlanders remain winless, so both teams will be looking to get over the tryline.

The Blues have made a number of changes, with prop Tim Perry getting the starting nod, while Jackson Willison steps in at centre for Francis Saili.

Kevin Mealamu will be on the bench and will likely make his first appearance of the season.

Despite not getting the win against the Reds last week, the Highlanders had a spirited performance.

Two changes have been made to the team from last week, with Jamie MacKintosh and Mose Tuiali’I coming into prop and number 8 respectively.

Rugby Informer’s take: the Highlanders have come so close to victory a number of times this season, and while they’re edging closer and closer to their first win, the Blues have homeground advantage and some players hitting form, making them the primary threats of the match-up. Blues by 5.

Blues:

15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (captain), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Francis Saili.

Highlanders:

15 Ben Smith, 14 Buxton Popoalii, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali’i, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ma’afu Fia, 18 TJ Ioane, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Phil Burleigh.

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