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Blues v Force

Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting:
Round 4 2011 - Force 22 drew Blues 22 at nib Stadium
Head-to-head: Played 6 Blues 4 Force 1 drawn 1In Auckland: Played 1 Blues 1 Force 0
Andrew Lees (AUS)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet:
Blues $1.09 Force $6.50

Greg Growden writes: The Blues have been rubbish, and the Force a waste paper basket. With David Pocock and Matt Hodgson unavailable, the Force will be even more of a tip. So this game has nothing going for it. Play topless darts instead.

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AAP writes: The Blues would have to be biggest odds-on favourites for a last-placed team in Super Rugby history. But there are good reasons why the bookies have given them such short odds. The Aucklanders are at home, have inspirational captain Keven Mealamu back and started to show signs of good form before the mid-season break. Also, the Force are in a deep hole with skipper David Pocock and Matt Hodgson joining fellow back-rower Ben McCalman on the injured list. The boys from Perth need to reproduce their second-half form against the Brumbies, fighting back from 22-0 down, to be competitive against the Blues.

BLUES: Charles Piutau, Lachie Munro, Francis Saili, Ma'a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Michael Hobbs, Piri Weepu, Luke Braid, Daniel Braid, Steven Luatua, Andrew Van der Heijden, Liaki Moli, Tevita Mailau, Keven Mealamu (capt), Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, Chris Lowrey, Peter Saili, Alby Mathewson, Orene Ai'i, Hadleigh Parkes.

FORCE: Alfie Mafi, Nick Cummins, Will Tupou, Winston Stanley, Napolioni Nalaga, Ben Seymour, Brett Sheehan, Lachlan McCaffery, Angus Cottrell, Richard Brown, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Toby Lynn, Salesi Manu, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Ruan Smith, Ollie Atkins, Anare Koliavu, Josh Holmes, Kyle Godwin, Patrick Dellit.