Blues Head Coach Leon MacDonald has made several changes after the disappointing loss to the Chiefs ahead of Saturday’s Eden Park clash against Hurricanes.
The only “new faces” from the opening match are veteran TJ Faiane, who gets his first start after an injury-delayed season, and exciting young lock Sam Darry, who made his impressive Super Rugby debut against the Highlanders.
Darry comes in for captain Patrick Tuipulotu, who has not recovered from a shoulder injury received in last weekend’s match.
Loose forward Tom Robinson, who made a significant impact off the bench against the Chiefs, has earned his first start of the season at loose forward and will captain the side.
Upfront, Fraser Armstrong has been named to start at loosehead prop, while James Blackwell returns to the second row in place of Isaia Walker-Leawere, who moves to the bench alongside Wes Goosen and Xavier Numia after the trio started under the roof at Forsyth-Barr Stadium.
Blues squad 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2 Luteru Tolai, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti,5 Sam Darry, 6 Tom Robinson (c), 7 Dalton Papalii, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 9 Sam Nock; 10 Otere Black, 11 Caleb Clarke,12 TJ Faiane,13 Rieko Ioane, 14 Mark Telea, 15 Stephen Perofeta,
Reserves: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 AJ Lam.
Hurricanes: Fraser Armstrong, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Scott Scrafton, Reed Prinsep, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Ardie Savea (captain), Luke Campbell, Orbyn Leger, Salesi Rayasi, Ngani Laumape, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett,
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Xavier Numia, Tevita Mafileo, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Devan Flanders, Jonathan Taumateine, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Wes Goosen.