Blues bolster pack for Hurricanes challenge
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Blues head coach Leon McDonald has named his team to face the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby Round 13 encounter at Eden Park on Friday.
Centurion James Parsons, who will play his 100thSuper Rugby match after his 100th game for the Blues two weeks ago, returns to the starting line-up with All Blacks Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi who will be looking for an improved scrum effort.
Co-captain Patrick Tuipulotu also starts with Josh Goodhue, who impressed last week, while there’s a mobile look to the back row with Dalton Papalii starting with co-captain Blake Gibson and the resilient Akira Ioane.
Both Tom Robinson and Alex Hodgman were not considered after not passing their post-game head injury assessments.
All Black Rieko Ioane returns to the left wing, with Tanielu Tele’a back after suspension on the right wing in place of an illness-hit Caleb Clarke in the backs.
Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (captain), 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Matt Duffie.
Date: Friday, May 10
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)