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Dan Carter still waiting for Blues debut, left out to face Crusaders

Dan Carter will have to continue to wait for his Blues debut after being left out of coach Leon MacDonald's matchday 23 for this weekend's top-of-the-table showdown against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Dan Carter trains with the Blues Source: 1 NEWS

After Carter, 38, made a successful return to club rugby with his hometown Southbridge last weekend, the 112-Test All Black was in line for his first Blues appearance after signing for the Auckland side earlier this year.

That vital match practice had given fans hope that Carter would make his Blues debut against his former side the Crusaders, who he played 141 games for.

That's not to be, with Otere Black against trusted with the number 10 jersey, with Harry Plummer and Beauden Barrett likely cover if required. 

Elsewhere, the Blues' gameplan will appear to be aimed towards kicking to put the Crusaders under pressure, with Plummer starting in the number 12 jersey, relegating TJ Faiane to the bench.

Finlay Christie is also given the nod at halfback, preferred to Sam Nock, who has been left out altogether. Jonathan Ruru proviedes cover from the bench.

Blues: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Mark Tele'a, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Harry Plummer, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Otere Black, 9. Finlay Christie, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 7. Dalton Papalii, 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. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Aaron Carroll, 20. Blake Gibson, 21. Jonathan Ruru, 22. TJ Faiane, 23. Matt Duffie.