Blues make four changes for Chiefs match

Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to the team that lost to the Cheetahs for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at Eden Park.

One-hundred-and-four Test veteran Keven Mealamu will start at hooker in place of James Parsons, while his All Black teammate Piri Weepu has overcome a rib injury to replace Jamison Gibson-Park at halfback.

All Black flanker Steven Luatua has been ruled out of action with a shoulder injury and will be replaced by Kane Barrett.

Rene Ranger shifts from the wing to his preferred position of centre, giving New Zealand Under-20 star Lolagi Visinia the opportunity to make his Blues debut on the left flank.

Peter Saili is currently sick and has been bracketed with Brendon O’Connor at number eight.

This will be Blues captain and centurion Ali Williams’ last game for the franchise along with Rene Ranger and Anthony Boric who are all heading overseas at the end of the season.

Kirwan said the Blues were out to finish the season on a high and salvage some pride with one final effort against New Zealand front runners the Chiefs.

“It’s about pride for us,” Kirwan said.

“We’ve had a season that we expected and I think if we can finish with a great performance then it’s been a real step in the right direction to put this franchise back on track.

“We all would have loved to have make the playoffs or been in contention this week; that hasn’t happened but we’ve played some great football and we’re heading in the right direction so we need to go out there and play for pride and show people that we are a force to be reckoned with going forward.”

Blues

15. Charles Piutau,14. Frank Halai,13. Rene Ranger,12. Francis Saili,11. Lolagi Visinia,10. Baden Kerr,9. Piri Weepu,8. Peter Saili / Brendon O’Connor,7. Luke Braid,6. Kane Barrett,5. Ali Williams,4. Anthony Boric,3. Angus Ta’avao,2. Keven Mealamu,1. Sam Prattley,

Replacements : 16. James Parsons,17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi,18. Liaki Moli,19. Brendon O’Connor / Sean Polwart,20. Jamison Gibson-Park,21. Jackson Willison,22. Marty McKenzie

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