All Black Rieko Ioane has made a speedy recovery from the hand injury he suffered to be named a starting midfielder for this weekend's Super Rugby clash against the Stormers in Cape Town.
Ioane was expected to miss several weeks of Super Rugby action after fracturing his hand earlier this month but the Blues announced this morning he has recovered well and will join TJ Faiane in the midfield for Sunday morning's game.
The midfield adjustment is the only significant change to the Blues' line-up which claimed a last-gasp win over the Bulls in Pretoria with regular centre Joe Marchant shifting to the right wing.
The only other change sees Sam Nock take over at starting halfback with Jonathan Ruru moving to the bench.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said the team will need to produce another 80-minute performance if they want to hand the Stormers their first loss of the season.
“They are unbeaten this season and pose threats across the park. We need to concentrate on our core roles, securing set phase and winning the battle at the breakdown,” said MacDonald.
“We were patient last week and stuck to our game plan, which was crucial. Clearly we need to be more disciplined because we can’t play for 20 minutes with one player short like last week.
“We have had a good week in preparation at altitude and hope we can reap some rewards for that coming back down to sea-level at Cape Town.”
The Blues play the Stormers at 2am NZT on Sunday.
Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Jacob Pierce, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu ©, 3 Sione Mafileo 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Aaron Carroll, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie.