Narawa starts for Blues, So­tutu rested

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Fi­jian-born winger Emoni Narawa starts for Blues as they face the Hur­ri­canes in the sec­ond half of the Su­per Rugby Aotearoa com­pe­ti­tion in Welling­ton to­mor­row. Narawa, who cel­e­brated his 21st birth­day, steps in for ris­ing star Caleb Clarke. Also rested is No.8 Hoskins So­tutu with Akira Ioane tak­ing over. Blues coach Leon MacDonald said Narawa had trained im­pres­sively in re­cent weeks to earn his chance. The other changes see Kurt Ek­lund and Aaron Car­roll re­plac­ing the in­jured pair of James Par­sons and Blake Gib­son in the pack. The de­but for 141-game Su­per Rugby vet­eran Dan Carter is on hold with the team tak­ing the pre­cau­tion to re­place him on the bench af­ter he was ham­pered with a mi­nor calf twinge at train­ing. His place in the re­serves is taken by Matt Duffie while lock Gerard Cow­ley-Tui­oti, back from in­jury, will cel­e­brate his 50th game for the Blues. MacDonald be­lieves the side has taken plenty of pos­i­tives from last Satur­day’s loss to the Cru­saders.

“We did a lot of very good things at set phase and the col­li­sion area, and we pro­duced some im­por­tant front-foot ball. Hope­fully the boys can take con­fi­dence from those pos­i­tives into what will be an­other big bat­tle this week,” said MacDonald.

“The Hur­ri­canes are play­ing well and are renowned for their phys­i­cal rush de­fence, which we will need to counter.

“We have re­sisted any sig­nif­i­cant change in the backs. We are re­ally pleased with how Harry Plum­mer is per­form­ing, while we be­lieve Otere at first-five and Beau­den at full­back is our best op­tion at present as they com­bine well.”

The match kicks-off at 7.05pm.


Blues: 15 Beau­den Bar­rett, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plum­mer, 11 Mark Te­lea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Fin­lay Christie; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dal­ton Pa­palii, 6 Aaron Car­roll, 5 Josh Good­hue, 4 Pa­trick Tuip­u­lotu ©, 3 Ofa Tu­un­gafasi, 2 Kurt Ek­lund, 1 Alex Hodg­man.

Re­serves: 16 To­lai Luteru, 17 Mar­cel Re­nata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cow­ley-Tui­oti, 20 Tony Lam­born, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 TJ Fa­iane, 23 Matt Duffie.

Hur­ri­canes: 1. Ben May, 2. Dane Coles (cc), 3. Tyrel Lo­max, 4. James Black­well, 5. Scott Scrafton, 6. Reed Prin­sep, 7. Du’Plessis Kir­ifi, 8. Ardie Savea, 9. TJ Per­e­nara (cc), 10. Jack­son Gar­den-Ba­chop, 11. Ben Lam, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Peter Umaga-Jensen, 14. Kobus Van Wyk, 15. Jordie Bar­rett. Re­serves: 16. Asafo Au­mua, 17. Fraser Arm­strong, 18. Alex Fi­dow, 19. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20. Vaea Fi­fita, 21. Jamie Booth, 22. Billy Proc­tor, 23. Wes Goosen

Emoni Narawa.

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