Woodcock Returns, Cowan Debuts for Blues

Woodcock Returns, Cowan Debuts for Blues

Blues centurion and World Cup hero Tony Woodcock returns to Investec Super Rugby for the first time in eight months for Saturday’s opening round of the 2015 season against the Chiefs at North Harbour’s QBE Stadium.

Woodcock, who has played 110 times for the All Blacks, will earn his 140th cap for the Blues as he starts at loosehead prop.
The Blues will be led by new captain Jerome Kaino, with the All Black loose forward to play his first match since the winning northern tour late last year.
He will be joined by fellow All Blacks James parsons and Charles Piutau in the starting line-up, while prop Charlie Faumuina will come off the bench.
Fifty-game All Black Jimmy Cowan will earn his 124th Super Rugby cap, but his first for the Blues since returning to New Zealand rugby following two years in English rugby with Gloucester. He forms a new partnership with Maori All Black first-five Ihaia West.
There’s a strong look to the Blues pack with star loose forward Steven Luatua in outstanding form in pre-season and forming a powerful back-row combination with Kaino and Brendon O’Connor.
Players of interest coming off the bench include the 2014 captain Luke Braid, coming back from double shoulder reconstruction, and the exciting teenager Akira Ioane, signed this week by the Blues.
The team is:
1. Tony Woodcock
2. James Parsons
3. Angus Ta’avao
4. Josh Bekhuis
5. Hayden Triggs
6. Steven Luatua
7. Brendon O’Connor
8. Jerome Kaino (C)
9. Jimmy Cowan
10. Ihaia West
11. Tevita Li
12. Francis Saili
13. George Moala/Hamish Northcott
14. Charles Piutau
15. Lolagi Visinia

Reserves

16. Matt Moulds
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
18. Charlie Faumuina
19. Akira Ioane
20. Luke Braid
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Simon Hickey
23. Hamish Northcott/Ben Lam