Blues put aside Tens triumph to focus on Super Rugby as star All Blacks return

The Blues will be back to full strength in their final pre-season game against the Hurricanes on Thursday in Warkworth, with the return of their All Blacks who have been named to play.

Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Jerome Kaino, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams and Matt Duffie have been named to start with Patrick Tuipulotu set to play in the second half at the Mahurangi Rugby Club in Warkworth, just north of Auckland.

Blues coach Tama Umaga said the team named to play against the Hurricanes had trained all of last week while the Tens team were in Brisbane and said their intensity levels in camp has boosted the teams energy throughout training.

"The experienced players have merged into the squad seamlessly and have worked very hard, and it is also good to see a number of players back training fully after some time out with injuries," said Umaga.

"This is our last hit out before Super Rugby so it is an important game for us to test our systems and our combinations. We will give most of the squad the opportunity to put their hands up for consideration for our first Super game."

Umaga admitted he was happy to win the Brisbane Global Tens title on Saturday but said his squad have immediately switched their focus to the upcoming Super Rugby season which kicks off next weekend for the Auckland franchise.

"We are excited to transfer the hard work on the practice field, in the gym and in our planning into the game situation."

Blues starting team:

1 Alex Hodgman, 2 James Parsons, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 4 Josh Goodhue, 5 Scott Scrafton, 6 Jerome Kaino, 7 Dalton Papalii, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 10 Bryn Gatland, 11 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 13 TJ Faiane, 14 Matt Duffie/Jordan Trainor, 15 Melani Nanai.

Second half Blues team:

Pauliasi Manu, Leni Apisai, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Glenn Preston, Murphy Taramai, Akira Ioane, Jonathan Ruru, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Jordan Hyland, TJ Faiane, Orbyn Leger, Tamati Tua, Jordan Trainor.

Replacements: Mike Tamoaieta, Ross Wright, Jacob Pierce, Sione Havili, Sam Nock, George Moala.

Coach Tana Umaga says that his players have "been working hard". Source: 1 NEWS


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