Mealamu leads as Blues rest All Blacks

The Blues have made eight changes for their match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

All Blacks Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Charlie Faumuina, who all came off the bench against the Highlanders last weekend, will be the starting front row, boasting 260 Test caps and 383 Super Rugby games between them.

Mealamu will also assume the captaincy with Jerome Kaino being rested after playing in eight of the Blues’ nine games, along with James Parsons and Charles Piutau, who get their first break.

Steven Luatua returns to play at No 8 with teenager Akira Ioane given a second game after his impressive debut last weekend, with Jimmy Cowan at scrumhalf and Lolagi Visinia at fullback.

Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Francis Saili, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden,9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Tevita Li.

Photo: Jason Oxenham/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt