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Weepu links with Marshall for Blues

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Sportal.co.nz     12 Feb 2014     Getty Images

Weepu, who has not played to date for the side was keen, fit and ready to go coach Sir John Kirwan said on Wednesday when naming his side.

It was just a case of getting him match fit, he said.

The game will be the first Weepu has been matched with Benji Marshall, who will start the game again, and Kirwan was happy with Marshall's progress.

The week's training had been closer to rugby and it was a case of Marshall learning every day. And in his case the best lessons he could absorb were those he was getting on the run.

Competition for places meant the side named to play the Chiefs was not close to what Kirwan anticipated would be his starting XV against the Highlanders in the Investec Super Rugby season-opener in Dunedin.

And that was the same at first five-eighths where Marshall was in contention with Chris Noakes for the role with Baden Kerr not being considered due to his hand injury.

It was hoped that Charles Piutau would get 20-30 minutes and Steven Luatua 40 minutes as part of their re-integration to be ready for next week.

Kirwan wanted to benefit from the lessons received at the hands of the Waratahs in last week's outing.

"We need to turn up and play rugby first and worry about the systems on Monday. [We want] a little bit more urgency around the breakdown and play footy as if we are starting the season," he said.

There was a need to the forwards to be better performed at the breakdown where the Waratahs had been better organised.

"I think they caught us on the hop. We were probably thinking about what we were doing rather than doing the first things first. We just need to make sure that we do the simple things well and then we will worry about the systems," he said.

That meant not thinking too hard but concentrating on execution.


The Blues team to play the Chiefs is: 1.Sam Prattley, 2.James Parsons, 3.Charlie Faumuina, 4.Liaki Moli, 5.Tom Donnelly, 6.Steven Luatua, 7.Luke Braid, 8.Peter Saili, 9.Piri Weepu, 10.Benji Marshall, 11.Lolagi Visinia, 12.Francis Saili, 13.George Moala, 14.Frank Halai, 15.Charles Piutau.

Reserves: Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, William Lloyd, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kane Barrett, Jordan Manihera, Brendon O'Connor, Bryn Hall, Chris Noakes, Simon Hickey, Jackson Willison, Tevita Li, Albert Nikoro.