8 Mar 2014

Benji Marshall dropped from Blues

9:08 am on 8 March 2014

The Blues have left high profile rugby league signing Benji Marshall out of the squad altogether for Sunday morning's Super Rugby match against the South African side the Bulls in Pretoria.

The Blues are bolstered by the return of veteran All Black frontrowers Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock.

Coach Sir John Kirwan has picked Chris Noakes in the reserves ahead of Marshall, saying his tactical kicking abiilty will be key in the higher altitude of Pretoria.

Mealamu and Woodcock, who both played 30 minutes off the bench in last week's win over the Crusaders, will start in an all-All Black front row alongside Charlie Faumuina.

The only other change to the starting lineup comes at lock where Liaki Moli has been selected ahead of Patrick Tuipulotu.

The full squad is: Luke Braid (captain),Frank Halai, George Moala, Jackson Willison, Tevita Li, Simon Hickey, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Steven Luatua, Tom Donnelly, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock

Reserves: James Parsons, Sam Prattley, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Brendon O'Connor, Bryn Hall, Chris Noakes and Pita Ahki