Super 14
Mealamu to lead full-strength Blues
Scrum.com
February 3, 2009
Highlanders scrum-half Jimmy Cowan following a Super 14 match against the Crusaders, Crusaders v Highlanders, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, May 17, 2008
Jimmy Cowan will lead the Highlanders against the Blues © Getty Images
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Pat Lam has named a full-strength Blues side for their final Super 14 trial match on Thursday, against a Highlanders side already struggling with injury problems.

Lam has been able to name a formidable side as the Blues look to build on least weeks trial win over the Reds, with All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu leading the side from a front-row containing fellow All Blacks Tony Woodcock and John Afoa. Anthony Boric and Jerome Kaino boost the All Blacks quota in the pack further, with Anthony Tuitavake, Joe Rokocoko and Isaia Toeava looking to provide the pace out-wide.

The Highlanders will be without star wings Fetu'u Vainikolo and Lucky Mulipola after both picked up injuries in their 40-17 loss to the Crusaders. Vainikolo is nursing a hamstring knock while Mulipola has both knee and foot injuries, although he was able to train early this week. Hayden Triggs and Josh Bekhuis start in the second-row, with injuries sidelining fellow locks Tom Donnelly and Ross Kennedy.

Jimmy Cowan skippers the side from scrum-half, while there are also starts for his fellow All Blacks Adam Thomson on the blindside and Jamie Mackintosh in the front-row.

Highlanders: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Jason Shoemark, Johnny Leota, Kendrick Lynn, Daniel Bowden, Jimmy Cowan (capt), Steven Setephano, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Hayden Triggs, Josh Bekhuis, Clint Newland, David Hall, Jamie Mackintosh

Replacements - from: Jason Rutledge, Anthony Perenise, George Naoupu, Tim Boys, Sean Romans, Mathew Berquist, Jayden Hayward, Brett Mather, Chris King.

Blues: Tony Woodcock , Keven Mealamu (capt) , John Afoa , Kurtis Haiu , Anthony Boric , Jerome Kaino , Justin Collins , Chris Lowrey ,Taniela Moa , Tasesa Lavea , Joe Rokocoko, Benson Stanley , Isaia Toeava , Anthony Tuitavake , Paul Williams

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Tevita Mailau, Charlie Faumuina, Jay Williams, Dean Budd, Onosai'i Auva'a, Peter Saili, Chris Smylie, Grayson Hary, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, Michael Hobbs, Jamie Helleur, Rene Ranger

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