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PREVIEW: Reds v Blues

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Friday, March 18, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

ROUND FOUR: Reds v Blues, Saturday 19 March, 9.40pm (NZT), Brisbane

TALE OF THE TAPE
The Reds have won four out of their last five matches against the Blues but come into this encounter winless in Super Rugby 2016. The Blues started with a bang against the Highlanders before suffering two hard fought losses against the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

GEORGE THE GREAT

Ahead of the Blues round two Super Rugby match, Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder dubbed George Moala the best ball carrier in the world. A quick look at Moala’s statistics shows the Crusaders coach may have a point. Moala is fifth on the Super Rugby ladder for carries while he leads the off-loading with 8 off loads. If Moala continues his hot form this weekend the Reds midfield will be in for a long night. 

BEKHUIS RAISES A TON
After debuting for the Highlanders in 2009, towering lock Josh Bekhuis will make his 100th Super Rugby appearance when he runs out onto Suncorp Stadium. After six steady seasons with the Highlanders, Bekhuis shifted north in 2015 and formed a formidable combination with regular locking partner Patrick Tuipolotu. The Invercargill-born lock also leads Super Rugby in lineouts won with 19 takes across the opening three rounds.

RAMPAGING RIEKO
After starring for the All Blacks Sevens early in the year, blockbusting wing Rieko Ioane gets his first start for the Blues in the number 14 jersey. Along with his brother Akira, the brothers formed a dynamic combination during the All Blacks Sevens triumphs in Wellington and Sydney. They will look to rekindle that opportunity in Brisbane if Akira gets an opportunity from the bench.
CLASSY COMBO
After starting from the bench in round two, it seems that Blues coach Tana Umaga has settled on Ihaia West and Bryn Hall as his preferred 9-10 pairing. The pair first formed a combination at Under-17 level and are excited to be playing together again. READ MORE.

TEAMS

Reds: 15: Karmichael Hunt 14: Chris Feaua-Sautia 13: Samu Kerevi 12: Anthony Fainga’a 11: Eto Nabuli 10: Jake McIntyre 9: Nick Frisby 8: Jake Schatz 7: Waita Setu 6: Hendrick Tui 5: Rob Simmons 4: Cadeyrn Neville 3: Greg Holmes 2: Andrew Ready 1: Sef Faagase

Reserves: Matthew Mafi, Pettowa Pareka, Sam Talakai, Ben Matwijow, Curtis Browning, Scott Gale, Sam Greene, Ayumu Goromaru

Blues: 15: Lolagi Visinia 14: Rieko Ioane 13: Male Sa’u 12: George Moala 11: Tevita Li 10: Ihaia West 9: Bryn Hall 8: Steven Luatua 7: Blake Gibson 6: Jerome Kaino 5: Josh Bekhuis 4: Patrick Tuipolutu 3: Charlie Faumuina 2: James Parsons 1: Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Reserves: Quentin McDonald, Nic Mayhew, Sione Mafileo, Hoani Matenga, Kara Pryor, Akira Ioane, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan