Cape Town - The Blues have been boosted by the return of their captain Augustine Pulu for their Super Rugby derby with the Hurricanes in
Wellington on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.
Pulu takes over from Sam Nock in the starting line-up and is joined
in the matchday squad by another leader in stand-in captain James
Parsons, who will come off the bench.
Pulu is the only change to the starting line-up from the team that
beat the Reds handsomely at Eden Park last weekend, while Akira Ioane, who
this week confirmed his commitment to the club, is the only Blues player
to have started in every game to date in 2018.
Veteran back-rower Jerome Kaino will become the second most capped
Blues player when he starts on the blindside flank in Wellington.
Kaino, who heads to France after the season, will play his 138th game
for the Blues on Saturday, to pass Tony Woodcock, and sit second on
the all-time Blues list behind Keven Mealamu.
Coach Tana Umaga is confident Kaino will again be a key motivating factor for his side.
"Jerome means a lot to this team and achieving the milestone is great for him," he said.
"The team wants to send him on his way in the best way we can and
that is with performance. And if we get a good performance, the results
"We get valuable leadership back in the squad with Augustine and
James, which is important in derby games against the likes of the
Hurricanes. That said, both Sam Nock and Matt Moulds performed well last
"Our attitude around the breakdown was a key for us last week against
the Reds, which created some front-foot ball for our backs. Our
forwards really dug-in. There are some work-ons around set piece as
there always is, but we need that same attitude on attack and defence
"I am sure the Hurricanes will be looking at ways to rectify their
situation after three losses in a row, but we have nothing to lose. We
will go down there and throw everything at them, get some pride and
respect back and also make sure we send our High Chief away on a good
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe
Milner-Skudder, 13 Wes Goosen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10
Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad
Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1
Substitutes: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19
Michael Fatialofa, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael
Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9
Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5
Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds,
1 Alex Hodgman
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17
Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21
Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane