Harry Plummer will start at inside centre for the Blues in their top-of-the-table Aotearoa match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.
The 22-year-old, who is more accustomed to playing flyhalf, has been brought into the Blues’ midfield after coming off the bench in the previous three Super Rugby matches. The in-form TJ Faiane has been named on the bench as a result.
In the only other change to the starting lineup scrumhalf Finlay Christie gets his first start of the tournament after making a good impact from the bench to date.
Meanwhile, the Blues will be further strengthened by the return of All Black Karl Tu’inukuafe and Blake Gibson, both having recovered from injuries.
‘We know that we will need to be very accurate with and without the ball while the battle in the forwards for clean front-foot possession with be a key,’ Blues coach Leon McDonald said.
‘If we can implement our game plan and execute, then there is no reason why we can’t provide a stern test. And if the weather plays ball, it should be a cracking game.’
Blues – 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 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 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Aaron Carroll, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 TJ Faiane, 23 Matt Duffie.
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