Blues centre TJ Faiane will captain the team in their clash with the Lions in Auckland on Saturday after Patrick Tuipulotu was left out of the match-day 23.
All Blacks lock Tuipulotu – as well as prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi – have been rested in accordance with New Zealand Rugby’s policy, leaving Faiane to captain the team.
Tuipulotu’s place is taken by veteran Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, who gets his first start of the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season after making an injury comeback off the bench last week.
Tu’ungafasi is replaced by Sione Mafileo, who forms a strong front row with James Parsons and Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Meanwhile, Akira Ioane has been rotated onto the bench with Hoskins Sotutu starting at No 8.
The backline remains relatively unchanged as Joe Marchant sits out the match and is replaced by Matt Duffie.
Blues – 15 Stephan Perofeta, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane (c), 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Jacob Pierce, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Subs: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Joe Walsh, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Aaron Carroll/Sam Caird, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Emoni Narawa.
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images