Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Ta’avao, Clarke to make 50th Blues appearance

Prop Angus Ta’avao and Wing Caleb Clarke will make their 50th appearance for the Blues when they take on the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua in the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific in Whangarei this Saturday.

While the pair will achieve a milestone, lock Josh Beehre will make his Blues debut in his hometown.

That trio form part of a star-studded Blues team and Beehre is buzzing ahead of his debut match.

“Naturally, I’m excited to make my debut, seeing my name up on the screen at the team meeting was a bit of a buzz for sure,” he told the club website.

“I went to school at Whangārei Boys and I remember going to a Blues game in Whangārei when I was younger, so for this to come full circle is pretty surreal. Hopefully the locals get down to Semenoff Stadium to watch the boys put on a show this weekend ”

“I want to enjoy every moment of it, you only get to debut once, so I’ll be soaking everything up and just looking to do my job for the team,” he said.

Beehre joins Sam Darry in the middle of the scrum, while Ta’avao packs down with Kurt Eklund and Joshua Fusitu’a in the first Blues front row of the season.

Anton Segner gets a start at blindside flanker with Captain Dalton Papali’i and Hoskins Sotutu round out the pack.

Ta’avao, who returned to the Blues this season, sits on 49 appearances for the club and said it feels right to be back home.

“It’s cool, this is the club I looked up to when I was younger. I’m an Auckland boy born and bred and I wanted to play for the Blues as a young kid. My family has put up with a lot for me to be here, I wouldn’t be here without them,” Ta’avao said.

He said he’s been welcomed back to the club with open arms.

“You walk in and it’s like family, there’s smiles and laughter but that’s coupled with hard work and I think that balance is crucial and it’s something we’re looking to nail,” he said.

In the backs, Finlay Christie and Stephen Perofeta form the first nine-ten partnership of 2024 with Harry Plummer and Rieko Ioane pairing up in the centres.

Clarke is joined by fellow speedster Mark Tele’a on the wing with Zarn Sullivan rounding out the back three.

Two further Blues debuts await on the bench with Lock Laghlan McWhannell and Fullback Cole Forbes poised for their first cap.

The Blues vs Fijian Drua kicks off at 3.35pm.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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