Lam to the slaughter before Brumbies clash?
Blues coach Pat Lam is under pressure to keep his job ahead of his side's clash against the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images
Blues coach Pat Lam will join up with his players a day after they arrive in Canberra for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Brumbies, so he can attend an interview to remain in the job.
Lam is looking to extend his four-year tenure, despite a tough season in which the Blues are languishing near the foot of the table with one round to go.
He says the timetable will not be a distraction from preparations for a match the Blues need to win to ensure they avoid finishing with the wooden spoon.
He says most of the work has been done, with the final training run yesterday and the team leaving today. Lam will fly over after his interview.
Blues chairman Gary Whetton declined to say how many candidates had been shortlisted, saying that was confidential.
The New Zealand Herald reported that it understood there were four names on the list - Lam, former All Blacks John Kirwan and Kieran Crowley, who have both coached national teams overseas, and Sharks coach John Plumtree.
Meanwhile, the Blues have made three changes to their starting line-up from their 32-9 win over the Western Force last weekend. Tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina is back from two months out after tearing a calf muscle just days before being named in the All Blacks wider training group.
Chris Lowrey comes in as blindside flanker, with Steven Luatua moving to lock, while yet another injury means Hadleigh Parkes fills in at left wing.
Parkes replaces Rene Ranger, who is out with a groin strain, making him the 16th player from the Blues' original squad to be unavailable.
Side to take on ACT Brumbies on Saturday: Charles Piutau, Lachie Munro, Francis Saili, Ma'a Nonu, Hadleigh Parkes, Michael Hobbs, Piri Weepu, Luke Braid, Daniel Braid, Chris Lowrey, Steven Luatua, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Res: Tom McCartney, Tevita Mailua, Andrew Van der Heijden, Peter Saili, Alby Mathewson, Orene Ai'i, Sherwin Stowers.