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Key Blues players to miss Chiefs clash

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Update: 12:07PM Veteran All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock and captain Luke Braid will both sit out the Blues' final outing against the Chiefs.

Coach Sir John Kirwan felt it wasn't worth risking the pair for Friday's match at Eden Park.

Woodcock injured a shoulder in last week's loss to the Crusaders while Braid is set to undergo surgery.

"Woody's had a great season for us, so it's a big loss," Kirwan said.

"It's unfortunate, but he's not quite 100 per cent and we need to make sure he's fine."

Braid has been carrying a shoulder injury all season and on Thursday will be operated on.

"He's been having issues so he needs to have double shoulder reconstruction," Kirwan said.

"We had two tentative dates booked, this week and the week after the finals and I just felt that if we could get it done now then he'd be back for the beginning of next season."

Sam Prattley will replace Woodcock at loosehead prop, while Brendon O'Connor comes in for Braid.

Charles Piutau returns to his favoured position of fullback in a reshuffled Blues backline, with Tevita Li coming onto the left wing in place of George Moala.

Wing Lolagi Visinia is hoping to overcome a haematoma to his quad and is currently bracketed with Moala.

Francis Saili also comes in at centre for Pita Ahki, who has joined the New Zealand Sevens team ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month.

Blues: Charles Piutau, Lolagi Visinia/George Moala, Francis Saili, Ma'a Nonu, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Bryn Hall, Jerome Kaino, Brendon O'Connor, Steven Luatua, Tom Donnelly, Patrick Tuipulotu, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu (capt), Sam Prattley. Reserves: James Parsons, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Hayden Triggs, Peter Saili, Jamison Gibson-Park, Jackson Willison, George Moala/Albert Nikoro.

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