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Super Rugby Preview: Reds v Blues

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Friday, June 7, 2019    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Reds v Blues, 9.45pm Friday June 7, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.

Played: 23
Won: Reds 10, Blues 11
Drawn: 1
Last time: Blues 39, Reds 16 (29 June 2018)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill

FORM BOOK
Despite their current lowly position on the ladder, both the Blues and Reds did look like genuine playoff contenders early in the season. The Reds have lost their last four games on the bounce with their last win coming against the Sunwolves in round 12. The Blues won four games in a row early in the season before dropping five games, winning one and drawing one to slip to the bottom of the NZ conference. 

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BLUES PLAYOFF HOPES
There’s an endless number of permutations that can happen in Super Rugby but the equation is pretty simple for the Blues says coach Leon MacDonald. "We're only [five] points away from [eighth] and we feel like we're still in the hunt. We've definitely prepared like that this week. Our only option is to play like we can make it and let everything else take its course.”

SENSATIONAL SAMU vs MAGNICENT MA’A
Reds skipper Samu Kerevi has been a constant menace with ball in hand this year. The game-breaking midfielder has made the most carries (187), beaten the most defenders (58) and made the second most offloads of any player in Super Rugby this season. He squares off in the twelve jersey against Blues veteran Ma’a Nonu who just seems to get better with age. At 37-years-old, Nonu is just as dangerous at ever and will relish the challenge of containing the Reds main attacking weapon.
THE SCOOP
The Blues are missing two of their biggest guns in Rieko Ioane and Patrick Tuipulotu but should still have enough fire power to dispatch the Reds and keep their playoff hopes alive. Last week they were hampered by torrid conditions in Auckland but will be looking forward to a dry track and plenty of open running opportunities in Brisbane.

TEAMS
REDS:
Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Filipo Daugunu, Matt McGahan, Scott Maloua, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Jean-Pierre Smith
Reserves: Brendan Paenga-Amosa, Ruan Smith, Gavin Luka, Harry Hockings, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia’aua, Hamish Stewart

BLUES: Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, TJ Faiane, Ma'a Nonu, Tanielu Tele'a, Otere Black, Augustine Pulu; Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson (capt), Dalton Papalii, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman.
Reserves: Leni Apisai, Marcel Renata, Lua Li, Tom Robinson, Josh Goodhue, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, Levi Aumua.