Mealamu and Blues decide time is right for first start
theblues.co.nz and James Mortimer 01 May 2013 Getty Images
"Part of the plan is for him to get back into it and now is a good time," Kirwan said of Mealamu’s reintroduction.
"He’s been on the bench three weekends and he’s ready to go. JP’s been fantastic for us and Kev will step up this week."
After an energy sapping game against the Reds, this week was all about recovering and running through the game plan ahead of what Kirwan believes will be an incredibly brutal encounter.
"We need to be up for them physically," he said.
"Obviously they’re very good mauling and around the breakdown. The African sides throw different stuff at us so we just need to be ready for that.
"They’re also very good on defence so the attack coach is going to have to earn his money this week."
The Stormers were wary of the Mealamu factor, with forward's coach Matthew Proudfoot wary of the talisman hooker coming back.
Mealamu is set to return to the starting line-up this week for an interesting reunion with Newlands, and his combination with fellow All Black Ali Williams will be crucial for the home side – who, like the Stormers, have played eight games so far this season; also winning four and losing four.
“Keven Mealamu is probably the most experienced hooker in New Zealand rugby at the moment – he played his 100th match at DHL Newlands last year – he’s really experienced. Ali Williams is really fantastic at the line-out, but I think they’re a side that can test us both at scrum and line-out time,” said Proudfoot.
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