Blues look to fans for inspiration in Super Rugby semifinal showdown

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They are looking to feed off the energy from a sea of blue at the Garden of Eden to earn the right to host the Super Rugby Final.

 

The Blues ready for a gigantic battle against their Australian foes, who they managed to beat in the 82nd minute in their recent regular season clash in Canberra.

 

The home side have named a powerful forward pack, both to start and off the bench, to quell their opponents and unleash the exciting talents of their gifted backs.

 

There are some tweaks to the line-up from their quarterfinal-winning side with Nepo Laulala, outstanding last week, to start at tighthead with Alex Hodgman to allow fellow All Black props Ofa Tuungafasi and Karl Tu’inukuafe to add power and purpose off the bench.

 

Josh Goodhue comes back into the starting line-up with the in-form and explosive Tom Robinson in the middle row, while Luke Romano and James Tucker add to the powerful wave of reserves.

 

Loosies Akira Ioane and Hoskins Sotutu were superb in the quarterfinal win, and will again be joined by Adrian Choat, the only Blues player to be named in every game this season which is a testament to his resilience.

 

Finlay Christie ignites a potent backline with captain Beauden Barrett, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Rieko Ioane, with spark outside from Mark Telea, AJ Lam – superb off the bench last week and in for the injured Bryce Heem – and the in-form Stephen Perofeta.

 

“This is what we have worked so hard for all year both as individuals and a team. This is the occasion that you want to play in – at our home, in front of our fans and family, against a worthy foe for the chance to play in the final,” said coach Leon MacDonald.

 

 

“That said, it is still a simple game of rugby – and we must do those simple things well – take care of our set-phase, be combative at the breakdown, and earn the right to unleash our backs.

 

“Discipline will be a key. We cannot give them a free ride down the ground and likewise we will be putting pressure on them not to step over the mark. It’s a great occasion and let’s make it a blue wave at Eden Park.”

 

Join the team with free transport included in your ticket (tickets must be shown). Check out the family pass with two kids free with a GA adult ticket for as little as $20. Plan your travel with high demand expected on these services. Tickets from $20 at Ticketmaster.co.nz.

 

The Blues team to play the Brumbies at Eden Park is (Blues caps in brackets):

1. Alex Hodgman (53)
2. Kurt Eklund (36)
3. Nepo Laulala (24)
4. Josh Goodhue (45)
5. Tom Robinson (43)
6. Akira Ioane (93)
7. Adrian Choat (18)
8. Hoskins Sotutu (35)
9. Finlay Christie (29)
10. Beauden Barrett (16)
11. AJ Lam (19)
12. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (10)
13. Rieko Ioane (84)
14. Mark Telea (37) 
15. Stephen Perofeta (43)

16. Soane Vikena (14)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (41)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (119)
19. Luke Romano (13)
20. James Tucker (11)
21. Sam Nock (50)
22. Tamati Tua (3)
23. Zarn Sullivan (18)

 

Players not considered: Harry Plummer, Anton Segner, Jordan Lay, Tanielu Tele’a, Dalton Papalii, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem, Corey Evans.

 

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