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PREVIEW: Blues v Brumbies

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Thursday, July 7, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

ROUND 16: Blues v Brumbies, 7.35pm Friday 8 August, Eden Park, Auckland

TALE OF THE TAPE:
Overall the Blues have the edge over the Brumbies with 12 wins out of the 20 matches played between the sides. The Brumbies will be looking for revenge for their 16-14 loss to the Blues in a nail biter last year and are in good form with four straight wins leading into this match. The Blues have now dropped two games in a row and will be looking to avoid a third straight loss for the first time in 2016.

MAGIC MELANI

Blues fullback Melani Nanai has been one of the Blues brightest attacking sparks all season and had a top performance against the Hurricanes last week. The 22-year-old Samoan-born flyer led the round 15 statistics in carries (21), offloads (7) and clean breaks (5), as well as being second on the list of most metres run (151). The Brumbies will need to keep a close eye on the electric fullback if they are to come away from their New Zealand trip with a victory.
UNCHAINED BLUES
With their playoff hopes all but extinguished, the Blues came close to shocking the Hurricanes last week with a care free game plan. Tana Umaga’s side attacked from everywhere and kept the ball moving with offloads and quick service from the ruck. The tactic reaped three stunning first half tries and a handy lead before the Hurricanes came back late in the match. The Brumbies can expect a similar game plan at Eden Park and will have to work hard not be drawn into a game of ‘touch footy’ as Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd labelled it last week.



BE THERE
With six wins this season, the Blues have been an improved force and played an exciting brand of rugby under new coach Tana Umaga. With just two matches left at home, the Blues will be looking to show they can foot it with the best in the competition when they take on the Australian conference leading Brumbies. Get your TICKETS HERE and be there LIVE to cheer the Blues on.

TEAMS:
Blues: 15: Melani Nanai 14: Matt Duffie 13: Matt Vaea or Male Sa’u 12: Piers Francis 11: Tevita Li 10: Ihaia West 9: Bryn Hall 8: Steven Luatua 7: Kara Pryor 6: Jerome Kaino 5: Josh Bekhuis or Scott Scrafton 4: Patrick Tuipulotu 3: Ofa Tu’ungafasi 2: James Parsons (C) 1: Sam Prattley
Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Nic Mayhew, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Blake Gibson, Billy Guyton, Matt Vaega or Michael Little, Lolagi Visinia.

Brumbies: 15: Aidan Toua 14: Nigel Ah Wong 13: Tevita Kuridrani 12: Matt Toomua 11: James Dargaville 10: Christian Lealiifano 9: Tomas Cubelli 8: Michael Wells 7: Jarrad Butler 6: Scott Fardy 5: Sam Carter 4: Rory Arnold 3: Ben Alexander 2: Stephen Moore 1: Scott Sio
Reserves: Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Blake Enever, Thomas Stainiforth, Joe Powell, Andrew Smith, Lausii Taliauli