Luke Braid to captain Blues in place of injured Mealamu

first_img Ali Williams makes a welcome return for the BluesFlanker Luke Braid has been given the captaincy duties in the absence of Keven Mealamu for this weekend’s match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.“Luke was selected by his team-mates as the Player of the Year in 2011. He has a lot of respect within the team and that is reflected in his high work-rate and consistent on-field performance. He is a natural leader and we see him as a future captain,” said coach Pat Lam.A nerve injury to Rudi Wulf’s shoulder sees him join Mealamu on the injury list and some backline shuffling has taken place to cater for this. Hadleigh Parkes moves to fullback, Benson Stanley heads out to the wing and Rene Ranger will play at centre.Ali Williams returns to the starting line-up. “When you look at the players on the injury list this week as well as having Dan Braid on the bench, we are without a lot of senior players and leaders. We need Ali out there from first whistle this week.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 11: Ali Williams looks for assistance during an Auckland Blues training session at Unitec on April 11, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images) Winger David Raikuna returns to the 22 after two weeks off with a hamstring problem. Starting XV:1. Tony Woodcock2. Tom McCartney3. Charlie Faumuina4. Ali Williams5. Filo Paulo6. Chris Lowrey7. Luke Braid ©8. Peter Saili9. Alby Mathewson10. Gareth Anscombe11. Benson Stanley12. Ma’a Nonu13. Rene Ranger14. George Moala15. Hadleigh ParkesReplacements:16. James Parsons17. Tevita Mailau18. Liaki Moli19. Dan Braid20. Piri Weepu21. Michael Hobbs22. David Raikunalast_img read more