Blues captain eyes Super Rugby return
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Blues hope to have some troops returning to reinforce their team for their Super Rugby clash against the Jaguares at Eden Park on Saturday.
With 19 players on the injured list last week, the Blues have named captain Augustine Pulu and Gerard Cowley-Tuioti for a return from injury, although captain Pulu is bracketed for Saturday’s clash.
They have lost two further players from last week with midfielder TJ Faiane out for at least two weeks with an ankle sprain and lock Patrick Tuipulotu, who has been unwell this week.
Others have been rewarded with good form in training with North Harbour prop Sione Mafileo having his first start while hooker Leni Apisai comes on to the bench after an excellent performance for the Blues A team against Japan A last week.
Northland's Kara Pryor will need to come through training today after a knock in last week's game and is bracketed with Dalton Papalii at loose forward.
Injuries to three key midfielders mean that Rieko Ioane moves back to the midfield with Orbyn Leger while Tumua Manu, who scored a try off the bench in his debut last week, gets a start on the left wing joining Jordan Hyland on the right wing and All Black Matt Duffie starting at fullback.
In light of the injury situation, coach Umaga will name his reserves after training.
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu/Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor/Dalton Papali'i, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Date: Saturday, April 28
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (04.35 Argentina time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)