Rieko Ioane returns to the wing as Blues name side to face Crusaders

Blues coach Tana Umaga has had to make some enforced changes to his side for this weekend's clash with the Crusaders, with a number of surprise selections for the Eden Park showdown.

Young superstar Rieko Ioane switches back to the left wing, taking the place of Caleb Clarke who is left out altogether ahead of the NZ under-20s World Cup campaign. Melani Nani returns on the right hand side of the outside backs trio.

Lock Matiaha Martin will make his debut for the Blues, with Patrick Tuipulotu out injured.

Flanker Dalton Papalii has been bracketed alongside Murphy Taramai, with Umaga giving him as long as possible to prove his fitness.

Fullback Michael Collins will return to the bench, having missed four weeks with a hand injury.

BLUES: 15. Matt Duffie, 14. Melani Nanai, 13. Orbyn Leger, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 9. Augustine Pulu (c), 8. Akira Ioane, 7. Dalton Papalii/Murphy Taramai, 6. Jerome Kaino, 5. Matiaha Martin, 4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi. 2. James Parsons, 1. Pauliasi Manu.

Resreves: 16. Matt Moulds, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Ben Nee-Nee, 20. Murphy Taramai/Antonio Kiri Kiri, 21. Jonathan Ruru, 22. Dan Kirpatrick, 23. Michael Collins.

Rieko Ioane of the Blues is tackled by Curwin Bosch of the Sharks. Super Rugby match, Blues v Sharks at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. 31 March 2018 © Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung /
Rieko Ioane. Source: Photosport