Reds v Blues - Super Rugby match preview

Last updated: 25th April 2013  

Rene Ranger Blues v Highlanders 2013

Rene Ranger: Moves to the centres

Saia Faingaa

Saia Faingaa: Back in the Reds front row

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The Reds have rotated their front-row for Friday's clash with the Blues at Suncorp Stadium.

Hooker Saia Faingaa and prop Ben Daley are the only changes to the Reds starting XV following the 19-19 draw with the Brumbies.

Faingaa and Daley swap places with the benched James Hanson and Greg Holmes.

Victory for the Reds would rewrite the club's history books as it would be their first sweep of New Zealand opposition in the professional era.

Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan has made just one change to his line-up.

With Francis Saili dropped from the starting XV after he was charged with a driving offence Albert Nikoro is handed his first start.

Nikoro will start on the wing, with Rene Ranger slotting in at outside centre.

On the bench, Counties Manukau lock Ronald Raaymakers come in for the injured Anthony Boric.

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 1 Ben Daley, 2 Saia Faingaa, 3 James Slipper, 4 Rob Simmons, 5 James Horwill (c), 6 Eddie Quirk, 7 Liam Gill, 8 Jake Schatz
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 22 Dom Shipperley.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Albert Nikoro, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Francis Saili.

What they said...

Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie

"The Blues are a very talented side and the short six-day turnaround makes things even more complicated for us, so to be able to maintain continuity in our selections is important.

"We keep the same 22 players but are giving Saia and Ben the chance to start and bring something different to our game.

"They've obviously been frustrated by injuries earlier in the season, so I'm sure they're eager to grab the opportunity they've been given and run with it."

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan

"They're very good right across the park.

"I always think championship sides have the ability to play four game plans. They've got a good kicking game, an expansive game, they can play a tight game and they can play with real intelligence mixing it up.

"They've also got two world class players in Will Genia and Quade Cooper that when they're on their game are very hard to control. So that mix really makes them lethal. For us it's about shutting them down right across the park and we won't be able to relax for one second."

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