Blues, Hurricanes pick sides
Auckland - The return of All Blacks loosehead Tony Woodcock and wings Rudi Wulf and David Raikuna ensures that the news isn't all glum as the Blues struggle with a injury toll coach Pat Lam says is as bad as he has experienced as a coach.
The Blues will take on the Hurricanes on Friday in Auckland. Kick-off is at 08:35 SA time.
Captain Keven Mealamu has succumbed to his calf injury, and will be unavailable.
The three-week suspension given to Luke Braid for striking further depletes the Blues roster, which means that three players from the franchise's wider training group have been called into the match day 22.
Piri Weepu will take the place of Gareth Anscombe at flyhalf, with the young playmaker suffering a fractured nose last week against the Stormers.
Auckland lock Liaki Moli will get his first start for the Blues.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have named an unchanged side to play, although loosehead Ben May has been bracketed with Michael Bent - with a decision to be made in the next 48 hours as to who will start.
15 Lachie Munro, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Piri Weepu, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Brad Mika, 7 Daniel Braid (captain), 6 Chris Lowrey, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Sean Polwart, 20 Gareth Anscombe, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 Hadleigh Parkes
15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May/Michael Bent
Substitutes: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Michael Bent/Tristan Moran, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Charlie Ngatai