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Tuipulotu returns for Super Rugby final

Hoskins Sotutu will face another form player in Wallace Sititi as the Blues host the Chiefs in the Super Rugby final
Hoskins Sotutu will be a key player for the Blues against the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Pacific final. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

The Blues appear to be slight favourites going into the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific final against the Chiefs at Eden Park on Saturday.


The fact their inspirational captain, Patrick Tuipulotu has recovered quicker than expected from a knee injury for the Blues is a big boost, whereas the Chiefs are without a star hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho.


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The Blues have arguably the stronger bench, but the margins between the sides are slim with the home side slightly more powerful, while the visitors rely on quick turnover and speed.


The clash between the loose forward trios will be entertaining as Hoskins Sotutu, Akira Ioane in his last match for the side and Dalton Papali'i take on Wallace Sitit, Luke Jacobson and Samipeni Finau..


Hopefully the weather is fine and lets the sides play flowing rugby, especially with Mark Tele'a and Caleb Clarke on the Blues wins and Emoni Naraw and Elene Nanai-Seturo on the Chiefs flanks.


The last time the two sides played it was the Blues who came away winners 31-17.


The Chiefs have won the Super Rugby title, twice, in 2012, 13, whereas the Blues last title in a full competition was 2003 with the Super Rugby trans-Tasman victory in 2021.



BLUES: Stephen Perofeta, Mark Tele’a, Rieko Ioane, AJ Lam, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Sam Darry, Patrick Tuipulotu (capt), Marcel Renata, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Josh Beehre, Adrian Choat, Taufa Funaki, Bryce Heem, Cole Forbes


CHIEFS: Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rameka Poihipi, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Damian McKenzie, Cortez Ratima, Wallace Sititi, Luke Jacobson (capt), Samipeni Finau, Tupou Vaa’i, Jimmy Tupou, George Dyer, Tyrone Thompson, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Quinn Tupaea, Daniel Rona

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