Next LIVE rugby on TV
to be announced
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:30:05 +0000
  • Switch Edition
ESPN SCRUM / Super Rugby 2014 / News
Follow@ESPNSCRUM
Super Rugby
Blues prefer Simon Hickey to Benji Marshall
February 27, 2014
Simon Hickey shone for Auckland in the 2013 ITM Cup © Getty Images
Enlarge

Brett McKay and Greg Growden discuss key talking points from round two
%]

The Blues have opted for promising youngster Simon Hickey rather than Benji Marshall to fix their playmaking problems against the Crusaders on Friday.

The 20-year-old five-eighth will make his Super Rugby debut, replacing Chris Noakes, who was left out of the match squad in the wake of the opening loss to the Highlanders. Marshall was retained on the bench as an impact player, having trialled at five-eighth in the pre-season matches after his switch from the National Rugby League.

Sir John Kirwan compared Hickey with All Blacks pivot Aaron Cruden - they have both represented New Zealand at under-20 level - and Test great Grant Fox, saying Auckland's ITM Cup player of the year in 2013, a member of the Blues' wider training group, was ready for to step up.

"We just think that it's time to give him a chance and, if we want to create internal competition, we need to start that now," the Blues coach said. "He's had the same pathway as Cruden and he has the calmness of Foxy. He's a mature young man who's ready for the next step."

Inside centre Francis Saili's foot injury means 18-year-old Tevita Li comes in at right wing in a reshuffled backline, while Patrick Tuipulotu replaces Liaki Moli in the second-row and Sam Prattley replaces Ofa Tu'ungafasi at loose-head prop. Kirwan is optimistic that skipper Luke Braid will be fit to face the Crusaders after picing up an ankle injury in the defeat in Dunedin.

The bench features the inclusion of All Blacks front-rowers Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock, who were rested against the Highlanders.

Blues: Charles Piutau; Frank Halai, George Moala, Jackson Willison, Tevita Li; Simon Hickey, Piri Weepu; Peter Saili, Luke Braid (captain)/Brendon O'Connor, Steven Luatua; Tom Donnelly, Patrick Tuipulotu; Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Sam Prattley. Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Angus Ta'avao, Liaki Moli, O'Connor/Jordan Manihera, Bryn Hall, Benji Marshall, Pita Ahki.


The top ESPNfootytips Super Rugby tipster at the end of the home and away season wins $A2000, with the runner-up claiming $A1000. We also have a pair of Gold Class movie tickets for each weekly winner.

Best of all you and a mate could be heading off to Game II of the Bledisloe Cup series between the Wallabies and the All Blacks in Auckland. The prize includes flight, accommodation, transfers and match tickets. Simply enter your tips WEEKLY to make another entry in the competition.

© AAP

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - United States GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Darts - European Championship
    Golf - McGladrey Classic
    Golf - Perth International
    Tennis - Swiss Indoors
    Tennis - Valencia Open
    Tennis - WTA Finals
  • Rugby

    Eagles coach wants 'blood and guts'

    US Eagles coach Mike Tolkin has called on his side to leave nothing on Soldier Field bar "blood and guts" when they face the All Blacks on Saturday

  • Formula 1

    Sauber 'disturbed' by state of F1

    Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says the way in which Formula One has dealt with the collapse of the grid's two smallest teams is "disturbing"

  • Tennis

    Federer cruises as Djokovic sets up Murray tie

    Roger Federer maintained pressure on Novak Djokovic in the race for world No.1 status after a 6-4 6-4 win against Lucas Pouille earned him a place in the last eight at the Paris Masters, before the Serb saw off Gael Monfils to set up a clash with Andy Mur

  • Rugby

    Burgess ready for Bath challenge

    Sam Burgess has revealed his high-profile, six-figure switch of rugby codes was based on "the challenge" that will await him - and not next year's World Cup in England

  • Formula 1

    Rosberg on full attack mode for three races

    Nico Rosberg says the gloves can come off completely in his duel with Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix now Mercedes has wrapped up the constructors' championship

Sponsored Links
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!