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Beauden Barrett holds on to No.10 jersey as Blues name squad for Highlanders clash

The Blues have named an unchanged squad from last week's close win over the Chiefs for Sunday's Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with the Highlanders, opting to keep Beauden Barrett at No.10 and Otere Black on the bench.

Beauden Barrett. Source: Photosport

The only adjustment coach Leon MacDonald has made sees All Black Karl Tu'inukuafe earn his first start at loosehead prop with Alex Hodgman heading to the bench.

MacDonald said Tu'inukuafe earned the start after an impressive effort off the bench last week but it also allows Hodgman to get a break after six straight starts.

“We have worked hard again this week and focused on being more accurate and disciplined at the breakdown but at the same time we want to continue to be physical in the collisions.

“We have to get the job done upfront and give our backs the time and space to show their skills, be both patient as well as capitalise on our chances.”

The line-up means Barrett stays at first-five in an unchanged backline, forcing Black to the bench with Matt Duffie in the No.15 jersey.

The Blues noted All Blacks great Dan Carter was still unavailable for selection due to a calf niggle he picked up in training which robbed him of a place on the team's bench for their game against the Hurricanes two weeks ago.

Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu ©, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black, 23 Harry Plummer.