• Blues start star rookie

    Nineteen-year-old Akira Ioane will start at blindside flank for the Blues against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday.

    Ioane played for the New Zealand Sevens team last year, before being given a late contract with the Blues.

    The 1.90m, 110kg loose forward gets his chance with Luke Braid not considered with injury and Steven Luatua rested after a heavy schedule.

    Meanwhile, scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan returns to the match 23 following the birth of his second child.

    There are a number of brackets with players coping with niggling injuries.

    Blues – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 George Moala/Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai/Tevita Li, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jerome Kaino (c), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
    Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock/Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Francis Saili/Hamish Northcott.

    Super Rugby teams (Round 10)

    Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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    Simon Borchardt