Braid back for Blues

The Blues have made four changes to their starting line-up for their crunch clash with the Sharks in North Harbour on Friday.

Captain Luke Braid, who missed the games against the Reds and Chiefs through a shoulder injury, will make his return in the only change to the forward pack.

However injuries to key players Charles Piutau and Francis Saili have forced John Kirwan's hand, resulting in a backline reshuffle.

Lolagi Visinia, who has impressed on the wing in recent weeks, will start at fullback while Pita Akhi will take over from Saili at outside centre.

In the team's only other change, promising youngster Tevita Li will start on the wing.

The Blues know that nothing short of a victory against the Sharks will do if they want to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Peter Saili, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs :16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Albert Nikoro.

Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images