Rugby Union


Blues v Cheetahs

Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 5.35pm (AEDT)

Last meeting: Round 19 2013 - Cheetahs 34 bt Blues 13 at Vodacom Park

Head-to-head: Played 7 Blues 5 Cheetahs 2

In Auckland: Played 3 Blues 3 Cheetahs 0

Referee: Francisco Pastrana (ARG)


TV: Live, FoxSports 2

Betfair: Blues $1.26, Cheetahs $4.20

Ladbrokes: Blues $1.24, Cheetahs $4.10

Stephen Samuelson writes: The Cheetahs have won two of the past clashes between these teams but have yet to win in Auckland. Injuries have hit the Cheetahs which has forced a reshuffle in the backline including Rayno Benjamin moving from the wing to inside centre. The Blues bench includes All Blacks veterans Jerome Kaino and Ma’a Nonu plus former New Zealand league captain Benji Marshall.

AAP writes: The Cheetahs will be desperate to take some points home after an awful tour and will try to put the Blues under the pump early. They are a better side than their lowly ladder position suggests and offer plenty in attacking threats. They have lost centre Francois Venter with a shoulder injury, while Raymond Rhule still has ankle troubles. The home side welcomes back some pretty handy reserves in All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino. Simon Hickey has been recalled to starting five-eighth and Benji Marshall, while in good form against the Lions, is again Benchy. The Blues should continue the misery for the Cheetahs.

BLUES: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, George Moala, Jackson Willison, Tevita Li, Simon Hickey, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid (capt), Steven Luatua, Tom Donnelly, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Jerome Kaino, Hayden Triggs, Bryn Hall, Ma'a Nonu, Benji Marshall.

CHEETAHS: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Johann Sadie, Rayno Benjamin, Hennie Daniller, Johan Goosen, Sarel Pretorius, Philip van der Walt, Jean Cook, Boom Prinsloo, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Maks van Dyk, Adriaan Strauss, Caylib Oosthuizen. Reserves: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Rossouw de Klerk, Andries Ferreira, Lappies Labuschagne, Shaun Venter, Elgar Watts, Howard Mnisi.