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Blues v Sharks Rd.8 Super Rugby Preview

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Super Rugby Round 8 on Saturday kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand where the Blues host the Sharks.

The Sharks have lost their last two matches and have not won since round three as they drew in Round Four so they desperately need a win.

The Blues have played six matches and won two. They appear to be an improving side even though they lost 29-23 to the Chiefs in Hamilton last week.

It should be noted that the Chiefs are the leading team in Super Rugby so a 6 point loss away from home does arguably show that the Blues are on the up.

The Blues have played the Sharks 18 times in Super Rugby and they have won 4 matches or 22%. In New Zealand the Blues have played the Sharks 8 times and won just two matches or 25%.

The average score when the Blues play the Sharks in New Zealand is Blues 24 Sharks 26.

Interestingly the Blues have lost their last 10 matches against the Sharks.

In terms of selection the Blues have nearly settled on their best team as they have made two changes for this week. Lolagi Visinia returns from injury to regain his place at fullback

Tanerau Latimer has been bracketed at loose forward with Northland’s Kara Pryor. Whoever starts it will be their first start this year.

The Sharks have made four changes for this week. Marcell Coetzee’s place is taken by Philip van der Walt. Daniel du Preez moves from number eight to wearing the number six jersey on the side of the scrum.

Other changes see Coenie Oosthuizen make way for Lourens Adriaanse and Stephan Lewies returning to the side.

The game is also the anniversary of the original Super 12 final in 1996 when the Blues beat the Natal Sharks, with a number of players attending and Joeli Vidiri to deliver the match ball on to the field.

The team will wear black armbands in recognition of the passing of former Blues lock Kurtis Haiu with a moment’s silence before the start of the game.

The Bookies have given the Sharks a 7 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Blues look like they are turning a corner under coach Tana Umaga. The Blues should win this by 4.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 2.

Average score: Blues 21 Sharks 25

Last five results
23 May 2014 Blues v Sharks 23-29 Albany
29 Jun 2013 Blues v Sharks 20-22 Durban
13 Apr 2012 Blues v Sharks 23-29 Auckland
26 Feb 2011 Blues v Sharks 12-26 Durban
24 Apr 2010 Blues v Sharks 10-23 Durban

Blues overall record against the Sharks
Played 18 , Wins 4 , Losses 14, Draws 0

Match No.59 :Blues v Sharks
Date : Saturday 16 April 2016
Venue : Eden Park, Auckland
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 2:Paul Williams
TMO : Ben Skeen

Teams

Blues

Lolagi Visinia, Rieko Ioane, Rene Ranger, Piers Francis, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Bryn Hall; Steven Luatua, Tanerau Latimer or Kara Pryor, Jerome Kaino, Josh Bekhuis, Hoani Matenga, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons ©, Sam Prattley.

Replacements : Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Kara Pryor or Joe Edwards, Akira Ioane, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, George Moala.

Sharks

15. Willie le Roux , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Joe Pietersen , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Philip van der Walt , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez , 6. Daniel du Preez , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Lourens Adriaanse , 2. Franco Marais , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)

Replacements : 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Thomas du Toit , 18. Coenie Oosthuizen , 19. Hyron Andrews , 20. Keegan Daniel , 21. Michael Claassens , 22. Garth April , 23. Odwa Ndungane

 

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