Mealamu set for Super Rugby record

Blues hooker Keven Mealamu will set a new Vodacom Super Rugby appearance record when he faces the Lions in Albany.

Mealamu will overtake Nathan Sharpe's record when he runs on for his 163rd Super Rugby appearance after being named in the Blues starting XV in one of four changes made by coach John Kirwan.

He is joined in the front row by Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who replaces Tony Woodcock for his first start of the season. Elsewhere in the pack, Steven Luatua comes into the back row in place of Brendon O'Connor.

There are two further changes among the backs, with Francis Saili returning at inside centre, while Frank Halai will make his first appearance of the season on the wing following rehabilitation from an off-season shoulder operation.

Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Charles Piutau, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (c), 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Subs: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Hamish Northcott.

Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images