Bekhuis returns to bolster Blues lineout

Bekhuis returns to bolster Blues lineout

Super Centurion Josh Bekhuis will make a welcome return when the Blues take on the Western Force in the Investec Super Rugby clash in Perth on Saturday.

A calf strain sidelined Bekhuis from last week’s loss against the Lions in Johannesburg, but he returns to guide the Blues’ lineout fortunes.

It is the only change to the forward pack that was unable to establish a dominant platform in the team’s loss to the Lions, which captain James Parsons labelled as embarrassing.

There are two changes in the backs with Billy Guyton to start at halfback for just the second time this season, while Bryn Hall will come off the bench.

Former NRL player Matt Duffie comes into the team on the right wing, with in-form Melani Nanai to revert to fullback in place of Lolagi Visinia for his 20th and blazer game.

In the reserves, Hoani Matenga moves back to the bench to make way for the return of Bekhuis, while Sione Mafileo, who played in the first four games of the season, joins Ofa Tu’ungafasi as reserve prop.

The match kicks off at 5.40pm local time (9.40pm NZ time) with wet weather forecast.

The Blues team is: Sam Prattley, James Parsons ©, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Jerome Kaino, Tanerau Latimer, Steven Luatua; Billy Guyton, Ihaia West, Tevita Li, Piers Francis, George Moala, Matt Duffie, Melani Nanai.

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sione Mafileo, Hoani Matenga, Kara Pryor, Bryn Hall, Matt McGahan, Male Sa’u.