Ioane moves to No.12 for Sharks clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues have made some changes to their starting XV ahead of their clash against the Sharks in Auckland on Saturday.
In the backs, the loss of Sonny Bill Williams means that in-form Rieko Ioane moves to inside centre to form a formidable partnership with fellow All Black George Moala.
Inside that is a new starting partnership with the elusive Jonathan Ruru given his chance to start alongside Stephen Perofeta, who has impressed in his two games off the bench since recovering from injury.
All Blacks Ofa Tuungafasi and Matt Duffie have been given one of their two mandated rest games which allows a first Super start for Jordan Trainor on the right wing and popular North Harbour prop Mike Tamoaieta.
Northland's Josh Goodhue, another who has recovered from injury and impressed in Development games, has his second game for the Blues at lock for the injured Scott Scrafton.
Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Jordan Trainor, 13 George Moala, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Murphy Taramai, 6 Jerome Kaoino, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Mike Tamoaieta, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane.
Date: Saturday, March 31
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (08.35 SA time; 06.35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)