Akira to start, So­tutu still at No.8

Fiji Sun - - WEATHER / TV GUIDES -

The Blues have made a pair of changes to their start­ing side to face the Chiefs at FMG Sta­dium in Hamil­ton on Satur­day. Akira Ioane and Dal­ton Pa­palii have been named in the loose for­wards, re­plac­ing in­jured duo Tom Robin­son and Blake Gib­son re­spec­tively.

Ioane, who didn’t play dur­ing the Blues’ 30-20 win over the Hur­ri­canes, will start at blind­side flanker with Pa­palii, who came off the bench, slots in at open­side.

Robin­son sus­tained a knee in­jury in the win over the Hur­ri­canes, while Gib­son was forced from the field with a ham­string in­jury and a head knock.

There are also two changes on the bench with US in­ter­na­tional Tony Lam­born and Sione Mafileo com­ing into play.

The rest of the team is un­changed, with Beau­den Bar­rett re­main­ing at full­back and Otere Black at first-five. “We know that last week was a good start but that we will need to get bet­ter if we want a pos­i­tive re­sult against the Chiefs,” says Blues coach Leon Mac­Don­ald.

“The play­ers who took the field will be bet­ter for that ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of dis­ci­pline at the break­down and get­ting back into com­pe­ti­tion af­ter so long off.

“Parts of our play were good last week but we must lift to an­other level against what we know is a very good and very phys­i­cal Chiefs side, as well as a healthy ri­valry with our neigh­bours.”

The Blues take on the Chiefs at FMG Sta­dium in Hamil­ton at 7.05pm.

Blues: 1 Alex Hodg­man, 2 James Par­sons, 3 Ofa Tu­un­gafasi, 4 Pa­trick Tuip­u­lotu (c), 5 Josh Good­hue, 6 Akira Ioane, 7 Dal­ton Pa­palii, 8 Hoskins So­tutu, 9 Sam Nock, 10 Otere Black, 11 Caleb Clarke, 12 TJ Fa­iane, 13 Rieko Ioane, 14 Mark Te­lea, 15 Beau­den Bar­rett.

Re­serves: 16 Kurt Ek­lund, 17 Mar­cel Re­nata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ger­ard Cow­leyTui­oti, 20 Tony Lam­born, 21 Fin Christie, 22 Harry Plum­mer, 23 Matt Duffie.

Akira Ioane.

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