23 Apr 2014

Luatua benched for Saili

12:11 pm on 23 April 2014

The All Blacks flanker Steven Luatua has been benched for the Blues' ANZAC Day Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs at Eden Park on Friday.

Luatua's replaced at No.8 by Peter Saili in one of four changes to their starting XV, as coach Sir John Kirwan seeks to inject more physicality into the Blues' game.

Simon Hickey will start at first five-eighths as expected, after Chris Noakes was ruled out following a concussion against the Hurricanes, and with Benji Marshall seeking a release, Hawke's Bay No.10 Ihaia West comes onto the bench.

Ma'a Nonu has bounced back from a tight calf to start at second five-eighths ahead of Jackson Willison, while Frank Halai has also been reinstated to the starting XV ahead of George Moala after a strong cameo off the bench last week.

Kirwan says that's no reflection on Moala, who's being rested after a large workload at centre, left and right wing.

Piri Weepu has been cleared to play and has been named on the bench alongside West, who is poised to make his Super Rugby debut after joining the franchise as a replacement player for the injured Baden Kerr just two weeks ago.


15. Charles Piutau

14. Frank Halai

13. Francis Saili

12. Ma'a Nonu

11. Lolagi Visinia

10. Simon Hickey

9. Bryn Hall

8. Peter Saili

7. Luke Braid

6. Jerome Kaino

5. Tom Donnelly

4. Patrick Tuipulotu

3. Charlie Faumuina

2. Keven Mealamu

1. Tony Woodcock

16. James Parsons

17. Sam Prattley

18. Angus Ta'avao

19. Hayden Triggs

20. Piri Weepu

21. Steven Luatua

22. Ihaia West

23. Pita Ahki