Cape Town - The Blues have surprisingly made several changes
to their team that will meet the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.
Coach Tana Umaga said the Blues have competition for places
across most positions and with half of the squad new this season, they are yet
to settle on their top line-up.
There are six changes to the team that beat the Highlanders
33-31 in the opening round at Eden Park.
"We are going to need the entire squad throughout the
year so it is important they get a taste of Super Rugby from the start,"
"There’s real competition for places as well.
Pre-season is one thing, but we need to test some different players and
"Also, we do not want to get to the situation where we
are forced to put players in to roles without them first experiencing it for
their sakes and for us as coaches to evaluate their performance.
"We are really comfortable with the changes and like
last week, we feel we also have some firepower coming off the bench."
There are two changes in the forwards, with captain Jerome
Kaino returning from suspension and Quentin MacDonald switching with James
Parsons at hooker.
Billy Guyton and Matt McGahan join forces in a new inside
back combination with Rene Ranger earning a start, swapping with Male Sa’u.
Former Melbourne Storm player Matt Duffie makes his debut at
fullback with coaches not taking any risks with a niggling injury for Lolagi
It also marks the 50th Blues cap for loose forward Steven
Luatua, who impressed in the victory over the Highlanders.
The bench again includes All Black Charlie Faumuina and
Sevens luminary Akira Ioane.
Not considered because of injury are: Afa Fa’atau (shin
fracture), Tanerau Latimer (calf strain), Ben Lam (knee strain).
15 David Havili, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Kieron
Fonotia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7
Tim Boys, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen
Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike
Alaalatoa, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ben Volavola, 23
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 George
Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake
Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione
Mafileo, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie
Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor,
21 Bryn Hall, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Male Sa'u