Blues

Mealamu to win 175th and final Super Rugby cap

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The Blues have named their team to play their final match for the 2015 Super
Rugby season which will also be Keven Mealamu’s 175th and final Super Rugby
match.

Mealamu will start the match against the Highlanders and on the replacements
bench All Black James Parsons will win his 50th cap for the Blues when he comes
on to the field.

The match will also be the final Super Rugby match for three Blues players
who are leaving for overseas and will start against the Highlanders.

Brendon O’Connor, who along with Jamison Gibson-Park are the only Blues
players who have played in every game this season, will head to Leicester in
England later in the year. Two others heading overseas are welcomed back from
injury in Charles Piutau, returning after five weeks out with a knee injury,
and Angus Ta’avao.

Piutau will play at fullback and Ta’avao in the front row after recovering
from a shoulder strain.

There are still 12 players on the injury list as well as three players at the
Junior World Cup in Italy that has opened the way for a debut Super Rugby start
for North Harbour forward Chris Vui, while Northland’s former Tongan international
Jack Ram comes into the reserves for the first time.

Mealamu says he is not letting his thoughts wander past the job in hand on
Friday.

“I’ve been blessed to have been able to play in Super Rugby for
15 years, and this is certainly not the end of my rugby quite yet. I will make
a final decision on that at the end of the year,” Mealamu said.

“In some ways it will be emotional to share my final Super rugby game
on Friday with my teammates, my friends and especially my family.

“This has been a tough season for the Blues but we can go out on a good
note knowing we have performed to our best.

“We have some players leaving as well and we have James who is reaching
an important milestone, so we owe it to them and to ourselves to be the best
we can be both individually and collectively on Friday.”

Parsons was honoured to pass on the captaincy on Friday to Mealamu, who has
been an inspirational figure for the North Harbour hooker.

“He is a great man and a great player. He has set the benchmark on and
off the field and I have learned so much from him,” Parsons said.

“For me to play 50 games for the Blues is a huge honour that I am very
proud of. It’s a special moment not only for me but my family and friends
that have helped get me here.”

Players not considered because of injury include: Dan Bowden, Luke Braid, Charlie
Faumuina, Frank Halai, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Francis Saili, Patrick Tuipulotu,
Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Pita Ahki.

Blues

1. Sam Prattley , 2. Keven Mealamu (c) , 3. Angus Ta’avao , 4. Hayden
Triggs , 5. Josh Bekhuis , 6. Chris Vui , 7. Brendon O’Connor , 8.Joe
Edwards , 9.Jamison Gibson-Park , 10.Ihaia West , 11.Melani Nanai , 12.George
Moala , 13.Hamish Northcott , 14. Ben Lam , 15.Charles Piutau

Replacements: 16. James Parsons , 17. Nic Mayhew , 18. Sione Mafileo , 19.
Will Lloyd , 20. Jack Ram , 21. Jimmy Cowan , 22. Matt McGahan , 23. Lolagi
Visinia.

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