Baby Blues to face Crusaders

The Blues have named an inexperienced team for their match against the Crusaders in Auckland on Saturday.

Twelve Blues players are out injured, including Charlie Faumuina, Tony Woodcock and Charles Piutau.

The Blues have also lost in-form loose forwards Akira Ioane and Blake Gibson to the New Zealand U20s.

Manawatu's Hamish Northcott will start at outside centre on Saturday, while lock Will Lloyd, flanker Joe Edwards and fullback Matt Vaega will make their first Vodacom Super Rugby starts. The 121kg, 20-year-old No 8 Airi Hunt will make his Super Rugby debut in the absence of Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua.

Blues – 15 Matt Vaega, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nani, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Airi Hunt, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Will Lloyd, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Sam Prattley.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Chris Vui, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt McGahan.

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt