Blues bring in All Blacks duo

Charlie Faumuina and Patrick Tuipulotu will make their first starts of the season for the Blues against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Tighthead prop Faumuina has come off the bench in both games this season, while No 5 lock Tuipulotu came on for his season debut in the second half of the match last weekend against the Stormers in Cape Town.

Tuipulotu will start in place of Hayden Triggs, who received a one-match suspension following his red card against the Stormers.

The Blues will start openside loose forwards Brendon O’Connor and Luke Braid, while Steven Luatua, who was replaced after receiving a shoulder injury, will come off the bench as cover for both loose forward and lock.

There’s been a reshuffle in the backline with Hamish Northcott moving to No 12, Charles Piutau from fullback to 13, Melani Nanai, part of the wider training group, making his debut on the right wing and Lolagi Visinia returning to fullback.

Added to the bench is replacement Simon Hickey, coming in for Dan Bowden, who has returned home after re-aggravating his foot injury.

Blues captain Jerome Kaino will earn his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby cap.

Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Charles Piutau, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (c), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Francis Saili.

Super Rugby teams (Round 3)

Photo: Jason Oxenham/Getty Images

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