April 4 2013
First Super Rugby game against touring side.
“The Blues are thrilled to be the first ever New Zealand Super Rugby team to play an international fixture against a touring side.
When the French head to New Zealand in June, included in their playing itinerary is a match against the Blues on Tuesday 11 June at North Harbour Stadium (kick off 7.05pm).
The Investec Super Rugby competition will be on a three week hiatus to allow for the Steinlager Series so this first-class match is a bonus one-off encounter for the Blues.
“It’s wonderful to see the return of a mid-week match from an international touring side and all of us at the Blues are delighted to be hosting this special game against France at North Harbour Stadium,” said Blues CEO Andy Dalton. “It’s a great fit – having the Blues take on Les Bleus during their trip to New Zealand.”
Blues Head Coach Sir John Kirwan said this opportunity for players to face an international side is another first for many of them in what has been a big learning year for his young side.
“This year has been huge for many of our young guys. They’ve had a baptism by fire of what Super Rugby is all about and now they get the chance to take on the French during the three week break. What a fantastic experience for all of us, including our fans.”
Tickets will go on sale from Monday April 22 and will be in keeping with the Blues’ competitive ticketing offers this season, including kids’ tickets from just $5 and adults’ from $20 plus transport solutions to and from the match with pre-purchased tickets will be available.”
And the match itself:
“France’s second stringers laid a case for Test selection with a convincing 38-15 win over the Auckland Blues in Albany earlier today. They scored four tries to two, with Fijian born winger Noa Nakaitaci claiming a brace.
Coach Philippe Saint-Andre selected a changed side from that which lost 23-12 to New Zealand in the first Test at the weekend. Maxime Medard was the only starter who played in that game.
Young Gael Fickou scored the first try of the game before debutant Nakaitaci crossed, and by the time he had his second, France had a comfortable 31-3 lead.
The Blues were without six All Black players, and chose to rest Ali Williams and Luke Braid, but they showed good character as they fought back with two tries of their own.
“We knew it would be a hard game for us because it’s between two Tests and a lot of our players are playing for the French national team for the first time,” said Nyanga.
“It wasn’t easy to prepare but we played very well tonight and we’re very happy about the win… now it’s up to the coach to decide.”
France play the All Blacks in the second Test in Christchurch on Saturday.”