21 Feb 2013

Weepu and Ranger set to bring up milestones against Hurricanes

4:11 pm on 21 February 2013

The Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan says picking his side to take on the Hurricanes in their season opener in Wellington on Saturday night was a tough exercise.

In what Kirwan says was the hardest decision, Chris Noakes has been given the nod at first five-eighths ahead of Baden Kerr and will make his first appearance in a Blues jersey.

Lock Culum Retallick will also play his first game for the Blues, while Counties-Manukau wing Frank Halai will make his Super Rugby debut.

On the bench, Brendon O'Connor, Bryn Hall and Baden Kerr are poised to make their Super Rugby debuts.

All Black halfback Piri Weepu will play his 100th Super Rugby game against his old franchise in his hometown, while Rene Ranger will bring up his 50th game starting at centre.

Starting XV:

15. Charles Piutau

14. Frank Halai

13. Rene Ranger

12. Francis Saili

11. George Moala

10. Chris Noakes

9. Piri Weepu

8. Peter Saili

7. Luke Braid

6. Steven Luatua

5. Ali Williams (C)

4. Culum Retallick

3. Charlie Faumuina

2. James Parsons

1. Tom McCartney


16. Quentin MacDonald

17. Angus Ta'avao

18. Liaki Moli

19. Brendon O'Connor

20. Bryn Hall

21. Baden Kerr

22. Jackson Willison