Akira Ioane has been included in the Blues starting lineup for their Vodacom Super Rugby Aotearoa match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.
Ioane was left out of the Blues’ match-day 23 entirely for their opening-round victory over the Hurricanes at Eden Park last weekend.
The 25-year-old will start this weekend in one of two changes to the Blues lineup – both in the back row – as Blake Gibson and Tom Robinson miss out through injuries.
Also included in the starting XV is Dalton Papalii, who came off the bench in the first half against the Hurricanes and scored one of his team’s three tries.
The duo will team up with Hoskins Sotutu, who keeps his place at No 8 after an impressive outing last Sunday.
The backline is unchanged with Otere Black remaining at flyhalf and Beauden Barrett again starting at fullback, to form an exciting back four with Rieko Ioane at centre and wings Caleb Clarke and Mark Telea.
Meanwhile, tighthead prop Sione Mafileo will win his 50th cap for the Blues off the bench.
Blues – 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Subs: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie.
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