Patrick Tuipulotu hits 50 for Blues
Tokyo - All Black Patrick Tuipulotu will play his 50th Super Rugby game for the Blues when they take on the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 05:05 SA time.
Tuipulotu, who made his debut in 2014, has played in all six games for the Blues this season.
The added toll to the injury list, with Jerome Kaino (hamstring) and George Moala (chest) out after injuries in last week’s game against the Chiefs, has forced some changes.
It will see the debuts for New Zealand under-20s representative Orbyn Leger, who will play alongside Rieko Ioane in the midfield.
Big Northland wing Jordan Hyland gets his start on the right wing, after some impressive performances in the Blues Development team, which means that All Black Matt Duffie moves to the left wing.
“Most of our pack are reasonably settled and we will be looking for an improved performance from them this week,” said head coach Tana Umaga. “We need to get a go-forward platform and win the collision this week, while we must show more discipline and lot allow them into the game.
“We also need to cherish our ball more and show patience.”
“With George Moala out, we have adjusted our backline. Orbyn has trained with us all season and has impressed us with his attitude and his skillset. He deserves his chance.
“Jordan is a big and fast wing. If we can do our work upfront then we want to utilise his strength and speed to get us going forward.”
The Blues have also brought in young Auckland lock Ben Neenee to the reserves, after also playing well for the Blues Development.
Umaga said the team has settled well in Tokyo and looking forward to the game in considerably cooler conditions to last year’s clash.
15 Michael Collins, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Matt Duffie, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Ben Neenee, 20 Dalton Papali'i, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane