Ranger back for crunch clash
Rene Ranger has been recalled to the Blues starting line-up for their must-win clash against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
Having lost to the Sharks last time out, the Blues really are in the last chance saloon but despite this coach Sir John Kirwan has resisted the temptation to start stalwart Keven Mealamu, but Ranger does get a run on.
The duo arrived in South Africa later than the rest of the squad due to international commitments and were both named on the bench for the match with the Sharks, only for Mealamu to pull out with an injury. It is perhaps with this niggle in mind that the hooker is forced to contend with a spot among the replacements.
Ranger replaces George Moala on the wing in one of four changes. Elsewhere in the back-line, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park and fly-half Baden Kerr replace the injured pair of Piri Weepu (ribs) and Chris Noakes (thigh).
In the pack, Sam Prattley gets the nod ahead of Tim Perry at loosehead prop while utility-back Marty McKenzie and half-back Wayne Ngaluafe have been brought onto the bench.
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison,12 Francis Saili, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (C ), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Sam Prattley
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Wayne Ngaluaf, 21 Marty McKenzie, 22 George Moala
Date: Saturday, July 6
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 14.50 (12.50 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa (South Africa)