New caps in Blues team to play Reds

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 15:51 31/01/2013

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

All Blacks veteran Andy Ellis could return to Crusaders fold sooner than expected Highlanders prove too sharp for Crusaders in pre-season hitout in Timaru Will Heinz's season-ending injury opens door for Billy Guyton at the Crusaders Super Rugby faces foreign recruiting blitz from France and England Crusaders send out SOS to Andy Ellis after Willi Heinz breaks leg Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz breaks leg in pre-season loss to Highlanders Western Force beat ACT Brumbies in David Pocock's return Quade Cooper out three months with collarbone injury Freak ankle injury can't hold down All Black and Crusaders lock Luke Romano Super Rugby dream getting closer for Waimate's Billy Guyton at Crusaders

John Kirwan hasn't wasted anytime.

The new Blues coach will quickly learn if his fresh-faced young guns are up to the challenge, after naming 18 new caps for his side's first preseason match against the Reds in Toowoomba on Saturday.

While preseason results count for little, the debutants will be tested with the Reds boasting 11 Wallabies.

"They are all ready to go. They have been training hard and it's time to play," Kirwan said.

"It's a real opportunity for guys to express themselves."

While a trim Piri Weepu was at training in West Auckland today, the halfback and other All Blacks, prop Charlie Faumuina and captain Ali Williams, won't feature in the first trial.

Keven Mealamu has been granted extended leave, meaning he will miss the first three regular-season Blues' games.

Anthony Boric, Rene Ranger, Charles Piutau, who was injured during training, Culum Retallick and George Moala have also been rested.

Ranger will turn out in Whangarei, his hometown, against the Waratahs next week.

"We've left some of the more experienced guys at home," Kirwan said.

"We know what they can do. It's a chance for the young boys to have a go."

The Blues, who will be led by Luke Braid and carry 27 players, have received reassurances the Queensland floods have cleared in Toowoomba and the game will go ahead as scheduled.

BLUES:

Marty McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Jackson Willison, Frank Halai, Baden Kerr, Bryn Hall, Peter Saili, Luke Braid (c), Kane Barrett, Ronald Raymakers, Liaki Moli, Angus Ta'avao, James Parsons, Tom McCartney

Reserves:
Albert Nikoro, Lolagi Visinia, Pita Ahki, Francis Saili, Jamison Gibson-Park, Joe Edwards, Sean Polwart, Brendon O'Connor, Steven Luatua, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Tim Perry, Quentin MacDonald 

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?

Blues

Chiefs

Crusaders

Highlanders

Hurricanes

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content