Blues named as Williams, Ranger and Boric suit up for last games
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has made four changes to his starting XV for Saturday night’s final game of the season against the Chiefs at Eden Park. 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.”
The Blues team to face the Chiefs at Eden Park on Saturday night (kick-off 7.35pm) is:
Curtain raiser: New Zealand Black Ferns v England, kick-off 5.05pm
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
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