Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: All hands on deck as test duo sidelined

Kevin Mealamu. Photo / APN
Kevin Mealamu. Photo / APN

The Blues' plans to squeeze the Lions up front have taken a hit with All Black frontrowers Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock still parked in the casualty room.

The test duo have been joined there by concussed flanker Chris Lowrey and wings Rene Ranger and George Moala who were injured in the side's last match with the Hurricanes.

Only Piri Weepu at halfback and Hadleigh Parkes at fullback remain in the same role they had last week in Wellington.

There are similar backline shuffles for the Lions because centre Alwyn Hollenbach injured his knee and had to be sent home.

Coach Pat Lam has made a solitary change in his pack with Daniel Braid returning for the injured Lowrey while John Mitchell has named an unchanged pack as the bottom-placed sides duel tomorrow at Eden Park.

Lam's backline selection choices were restricted because of injury and with Sherwin Stowers elevated to the reserves, every available member of the squad has been picked for tomorrow's match.

Ma'a Nonu shifts out a place to centre and that pushes Benson Stanley to the wing once more while Michael Hobbs moves into midfield.

So the Weepu-Gareth Anscombe axis at halfback and five-eighths is restored for the fourth time in this year's series as these teams square up for the Battle of the Basement.

BLUES
Eden Park, 7.35pm tomorrow

Hadleigh Parkes
David Raikuna
Ma'a Nonu
Michael Hobbs
Benson Stanley
Gareth Anscombe
Piri Weepu
Peter Saili
Daniel Braid
Ali Williams
Liaki Moli
Luke Braid (c)
Charlie Faumuina
Tom McCartney
Tevita Mailau

Blues: James Parsons, Angus Ta'avao, Filo Paulo, Steve Luatua, Alby Mathewson, Lachie Munro, Sherwin Stowers.

LIONS

Andries Coetzee
D. van Rensburg
Lionel Mapoe
Jaco Taute
Michael Killian
Elton Jantjies
Ross Cronje
Joshua Strauss (c)
Grant Hattingh
Derick Minnie
Ruan Botha
F. van der Merwe
Patric Cilliers
Callie Visagie
JC van Rensburg

Lions: Martin Bezuidenhout, CJ van der Linde, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jaco Kriel, Tian Meyer, Ruan Combrinck, James Kamana.

- NZ Herald

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