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first_img Toeava faces a frustrating spell out with a hip injuryHaving returned from South Africa and facing a short turnaround before their Friday night match against the Hurricanes, the Blues are forced to field a team without their captain, Keven Mealamu.A calf strain which saw Mealamu leave the field during the Stormers match last week, along with a three week suspension given to Luke Braid has meant once again, Wider Training Group players have been called into the 22.Coach Pat Lam is in the middle of an injury crisis after indefinitely losing utility back Iasaia Toeava. Originally diagnosed in May 2011 with a stress fracture to his hip, the unhealed injury has sidelined the player since the second week of play, leaving the player frustrated, “I’ve had a rough run with this hip” said Toeava.“It was painful last year but it seemed it might have come right during the break after the World Cup. But that wasn’t the case and I have been struggling with it this season. It’s really frustrating because I just want to be out there with my team.”Non-surgical rehab could see the Auckland back return in three months. However if specialists feel surgery is required, the All Blacks back could be out for the rest of the season.Much deserved good news for Lam sees All Black prop Tony Woodcock making a very timely return to the front row. Auckland lock Liaki Moli will get his first start for the Blues. HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – MARCH 02: Isaia Toeava of the Blues makes a break during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues at Waikato Stadium on March 2, 2012 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Replacements: 16 James Parsons *17 Tevita Mailau18 Filo Paulo19 Sean Polwart *20 Gareth Anscombe21 Michael Hobbs22 Hadleigh Parkes *(* – Wider Training Group)Unavailable – Jerome Kaino (Shoulder), Keven Mealamu (calf), Isaia Toeava (stress fracture – hip), George Moala (Shoulder), Anthony Boric (neck), Luke Braid (3 week ban) and Rene Ranger (2 week ban) Injured wingers Rudi Wulf and David Raikuna are back on deck and will both start the match.Gareth Anscombe suffered a nose fracture during last week’s game but will still be on the bench for the Hurricanes match.Starting XV:1. Tony Woodcock2. Tom McCartney3. Charlie Faumuina4. Liaki Moli5. Ali Williams6. Chris Lowrey7. Daniel Braid (C)8. Brad Mika9. Alby Mathewson10. Piri Weepu11. Rudi Wulf12. Ma’a Nonu13. Benson Stanley14. David Raikuna15. Lachie Munrolast_img read more

first_img“Francois is the biggest No 7 in this list, probably 6ft 3in and over 17st but despite his size he’s very good on the floor, a decent lineout option and he can take contact all day long. He’s very much the modern day South African openside. I played against him in 2010 in one of my first starts for Wales and again for the Blues against Bath, and he’s always been very tricky to play against. Over the last three months, he’d be in my Top 3 in the world.”Best for footballing skills – Justin Tipuric (Wales)“Tips has so many skills in his locker. He has a decent You Tube reel that’s for sure. He regularly scores chip and chase tries for the Ospreys! It helps that he played on the Sevens circuit with Wales, where his ball-playing abilities came to the fore. He has a superb engine on him and along with Martyn, those two are unrivalled in world rugby for their skills. At training every day, it’s funny, he stays back with Toby to practice his kicking; to the corners, dinks over the top. It shows his dedication.Best for raw power – Sean O’Brien (Ireland)“I can’t leave Sean out of the list. He’s the most powerful on the list by a mile. Obviously he won European Player of the Tear in 2011 as a blindside but on the Lions tour, working closely with him you see how versatile he is. He has really soft hands, can throw accurate miss-passes, create tries and has sweet offloading skills – he’s far from a one dimensional battering ram. He’s worked really hard on his game and taken it on a level.”Has Sam put forward a decent list. Tell us what you think? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Best for game intelligence –  Martyn Williams (Wales)“Martyn was my hero growing up. He was the first person I met at the Blues on my first day in the gym. He was so important to Wales that moves were based around him. For example, we’d call a five-man lineout and move him into the backline. Most backrows smash it up the middle, but we called it the ‘five-man bird option’ and Nugget would end up dinking it over the the defence to create problems. He had real game intelligence. Later in his career most of his turnovers weren’t from him getting smashed on the deck but clever ones, like a contact rip. I’m always getting compared to him. All I say is ‘wait until I get 100 caps and drop a goal’.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_7laoQ8B1kBest for leadership – Richie McCaw (New Zealand) “Richie McCaw’s leadership record speaks for itself, over 100 wins as captain in the All Black shirt is just phenomenal! In the nicest possible sense, McCaw is a real nuisance whenever I’ve played against him. He’s very versatile. You can use him at the back of the lineout, as a ball carrier, or of course on the deck. What I’ve noticed about him is when the ball is at the base of a ruck, for a second you’re not sure if it’s out or not, and he’ll gamble and usually get it right – that’s his experience showing. He’s smart, if he’s not making the first up tackle and hitting the carrier second, he’ll make sure he up off the deck quickly to exert some influence on the game. A quality player.”Best over the ball – David Pocock (Australia)“If I had to name one player who’s the most difficult to play against, I’d say David Pocock. He’s so strong over the ball, you literally cannot move him. He’s a superb jackaler and as well as being extremely strong, he’s also very flexible. Personally, I do a lot of stretching, with the glutes, hamstrings and groin because you have to get into unusual positions. He’s not the tallest but even so he can ridiculously low. He’s been unlucky with injuries but I have no doubt he’ll come back even stronger.”Best all-rounder – Francois Louw (South Africa) Sam Warburton spoke to us as an HSBC Ambassador at the London Sevens. For more information follow @HSBCrugby. To read our exclusive review of the IRB Sevens Series, pick up the July edition of Rugby World – on sale June 2!center_img Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton got his thinking cap on and gave RW six of the best opensides he’s played with or against. It’s not too shabby… On the way back: Sam Warburton picks the best opensides he played against last_img read more