Blues v Bulls - Super Rugby match preview

Last Updated: 10/03/13 10:27am

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The Blues have made six changes to their line-up for Sunday's Super Rugby encounter with the Bulls at Eden Park.

Despite being unbeaten so far this season, head coach Sir John Kirwan has opted to rotate his squad in a bid to give a number of players the chance to impress.

That means Tim Perry, Quentin MacDonald, Liaki Moli and Kane Barrett will come into the pack, while Baden Kerr and Waisake Naholo are added to the backs.

On the bench, Ronald Raaymakers, Marty McKenzie and Jamison Gibson-Park are all poised to make their Super Rugby debuts.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made seven changes to his line-up for the trip to Auckland.

Four of the alterations come in the backs, with Lionel Mapoe, JJ Engelbrecht, Akona Ndungane and Jano Vermaak coming into the side.

Up front, Deon Stegman, Frik Kirsten and Willie Wepener are handed their chances.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Marty McKenzie, 22 Albert Nikoro.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morne Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Jürgen Visser.

What they said...

Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan

"This is a marathon, not a sprint.

"If we're going to be successful now and in the future then we need to have a full squad and we need to have internal competition so it was about giving the guys that have worked really hard in the off-season the opportunity to step up."

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke

"We have talked about our depth and this is a great opportunity to really test that.

"All the guys who start for the first time this season will be very keen and it will also give some respite to those who are feeling a bit sore after the first couple of matches."

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