Ioane brothers ruled out for Blues against Brumbies

Source: 1News

Blues stars Akira and Rieko Ioane have been ruled out of the top-of-the-table clash against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

Rieko Ioane is out of the Brumbies match on Saturday due to a hamstring strain.

Loose forward Akira has injured a foot that he has been rehabilitating since the start of the season and midfielder Rieko has not recovered from a hamstring strain suffered early in the Blues’ 53-26 win over the Reds at Eden Park.

Anton Segner will join Hoskins Sotutu and skipper Dalton Papalii in the loose forwards, while Bryce Heem, who scored two tries against the Reds after replacing Rieko, will start alongside Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the midfield.

A victory against the second-placed Brumbies will see the Blues wrap up top spot on the ladder and home advantage through the playoffs.

Their final regular season game is against the Waratahs in Sydney.

READ MORE: Rieko Ioane injury the only downer for Blues as they eye finals

“We have been taking things one game at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves. This is one of the absolute key tests for us this season and we are ready for a real dog-fight,” said coach Leon MacDonald.

“The Brumbies have only lost twice all year and with one of those last weekend [against the Crusaders], we know they will come with all they have on Saturday.

“We are absolutely looking forward to the confrontation. They have strength across the park and we will need to match them. The team have prepared well and now have to execute both individually and as a team, plus show real discipline because the Brumbies will take full toll if they can earn opportunity in our territory.”

The competition’s leading points scorer Stephen Perofeta, sitting on 99 points, again starts at fullback for the Blues.

The Blues team to play the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday, kick-off 9.45pm is:

1. Alex Hodgman

2. Kurt Eklund

3. Ofa Tuungafasi

4. James Tucker

5. Sam Darry

6. Anton Segner

7. Dalton Papalii ©

8. Hoskins Sotutu

9. Finlay Christie

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Caleb Clark

12. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

13. Bryce Heem

14. Mark Telea

15. Stephen Perofeta


16. Ricky Riccitelli

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe

18. Nepo Laulala

19. Luke Romano

20. Adrian Choat

21. Sam Nock

22. Tanielu Tele’a

23. Zarn Sullivan