Noakes at 10, Benji on bench

Chris Noakes is back at flyhalf for the Blues' match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.

In one of seven personnel and two positional changes, Noakes has been handed his first start since the loss to the Lions in Johannesburg a month ago. Simon Hickey has dropped out of the squad entirely, with Benji Marshall on the bench as cover for Noakes. 

In other changes, midfielder Francis Saili has been promoted from the bench to start outside Ma'a Nonu, talented utility Lolagi Visinia makes his first start of the year on the left wing and George Moala switches from outside centre to the right wing, in place of All Black Frank Halai, who drops to the bench. 

Patrick Tuipulotu and Tom Donnelly are paired at lock, while Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua switch roles. Kaino starts at No 8 and Luatua in his preferred role at blindside flanker, alongside returning captain Luke Braid. 

Keven Mealamu also makes a starting return from a problematic calf injury to form an all-All Blacks front row alongside Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have made just one change, with loosehead prop Reggie Goodes coming in for Ben Franks, who has a groin injury.

Hurricanes – 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 John Schwalger, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.

Blues – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 George Moala, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 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 Liaki Moli, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Benji Marshall, 23 Frank Halai.

Super Rugby teams (Round 10)

Photo: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

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