Rugby: Mealamu to play for Auckland

Keven Mealamu is set to play his first match for Auckland in five years, having been named to start against Bay of Plenty on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images.
Keven Mealamu is set to play his first match for Auckland in five years, having been named to start against Bay of Plenty on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images.

Keven Mealamu is set to play his first match for Auckland in five years, having been named to start against Bay of Plenty on Saturday.

Hooker Mealamu is joined by fullback Charles Piutau, who has also been released from the All Blacks.

Mealamu's inclusion suggests he might not be involved in next weekend's test against Argentina in Hamilton, with Andrew Hore and Dane Coles likely to get the nod.

"It's fantastic to have Kev and Charlie back in the team,'' said coach Wayne Pivac. "Keven is a special player and I'm very comfortable he'll do the job for us and Charlie played for us all last season so he knows exactly what we're about.''

Pivac has rung the changes after Auckland's come-from-behind 21-18 win over Manawatu last weekend, naming a new front row and including four other changes. Sean Polwart moves to the blindside to replace the injured Joe Edwards, while Luke Braid will start at openside flanker.

In the backline, Piutau will start at fullback with Lolagi Visinia shifting to the wing.

Auckland team to face Bay of Plenty at Eden Park on Saturday, kick-off 2.35pm: Charles Piutau, George Moala, Malakai Fekitoa, Hadleigh Parkes (c), Lolagi Visinia, Simon Hickey, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid, Sean Polwart, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liaki Moli, Angus Ta'avao, Keven Mealamu, Sam Prattley. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Jack Whetton, Sean Brookman, Junior Poluleiligaga, Vince Aso, Tenina Sauileoge.

- APNZ

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