All Black front row packs down

All Black front row packs down

The Blues will pack down their All Black front row for the first time this season in Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes in Palmerston North.

Tony Woodcock, James Parsons and Charlie Faumuina were named to start in Friday’s game, with record-setting hooker Keven Mealamu to come off the bench. The quartet boast 397 Super Rugby caps between them.
Missing is captain Jerome Kaino who will sit out the game after failing a concussion test on the day after the game, with Steven Luatua moving back to No 8, Luke Braid to captain at No 6 with Brendon O’Connor returning to No 7.

Jimmy Cowan, who has a knee strain, is bracketed with Jamison Gibson-Park at halfback, with the rest of the backline unchanged.
Akira Ioane comes into the reserves at loose forward, Bryn Hall (who missed last Friday’s Blues A match against the Argentina Pampas with a back injury), is bracketed at halfback as he seeks his first start of the year, while George Moala is on the bench after recovering from a knee injury.
Not considered because of injury is Dan Bowden (foot injury) and Blake Gibson, who is likely to be available for club rugby next week.
The team is:
  1. Tony Woodcock
  2. James Parsons
  3. Charlie Faumuina
  4. Josh Bekhuis
  5. Patrick Tuipulotu
  6. Brendon O’Connor
  7. Luke Braid ( C )
  8. Steven Luatua
  9. Jimmy Cowan/Jamison Gibson-Park
  10. Ihaia West
  11. Melani Nanai
  12. Francis Saili
  13. Charles Piutau
  14. Frank Halai
  15. Lolagi Visinia

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
18. Angus Ta’avao/Sam Prattley
19. Hayden Triggs
20. Akira Ioane
21. Gibson-Park/Bryn Hall
22. Simon Hickey
23. George Moala