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Blues keep the faith, name unchanged starting side to face Highlanders

The Blues are keeping faith in the side from last weekend's victory over the Chiefs, naming an unchanged starting side to face the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday night.

Hoskins Sotutu makes a run against the Chiefs. Source: Photosport

Following the 24-12 win in Hamilton, coach Leon MacDonald is backing the exact same starting side to notch a third straight victory.

There is one change to the bench, with Englishman Joe Marchant replacing Matt Duffie.

The Blues opened their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign with a win over the Hurricanes before beating the Chiefs last weekend.

However, that also means no room for All Blacks legend Dan Carter, yet to make his first appearance for the Blues after arriving back to New Zealand from Japan.

Otere Black keeps hold of the number 10 jersey, with star recruit Beauden Barrett at fullback once again. 

Akira Ioane is also given another start in the number six jersey, unable to dislodge the impressive Hoskins Sotutu at number eight, Dalton Papali'i completing the loose forward trio.

The Blues face the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday night.

Blues: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Mark Telea, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. TJ Faiane, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Otere Black, 9. Sam Nock, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 7. Dalton Papali'i, 6. Akira Ioane, 5. Josh Goodhue, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, (c), 3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2. James Parsons, 1. Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: 16. Kurt Eklund, 17. Marcel Renata, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20. Tony Lamborn, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Harry Plummer, 23. Matt Duffie.