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'Stars aligned' for Blues with off-season backline additions, coach Leon MacDonald says

The backline for the Blues in the 2020 Super Rugby season will look completely different from the one they fielded this year.

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The Blues have added internationals Beauden Barrett and Joe Marchant to their squad for the upcoming season. Source: 1 NEWS

Between the losses of veterans such as Sonny Bill Williams, Ma'a Nonu and Augustine Pulu as well as the position shift of star Rieko Ioane to the midfield, coach Leon MacDonald had plenty to weigh-up over the off-season.

But then thrown into all of that was the addition of All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett and England midfielder Joe Marchant.

As a result, the Blues named five first-fives in their 2020 squad last night, with Barrett joined by Otere Black, Jack Heighton, Stephen Perofeta and Harry Plummer.

However, MacDonald said the quintet won't just contest the No.10 jersey.

"Beauden's away a little bit - obviously he's got a sabbatical built in to his contract so there's opportunities before he comes back," MacDonald said.

"But our first-fives are multi-skilled. Stephen Perofeta plays fullback and Harry Plummer plays 12.

"It gives us options and when you're a young 10 and have Beauden around, I think that's a good opportunity."

On Marchant, MacDonald said he was eager to work with a "motivated, determined guy".

"We were lucky to secure Joe for the season," he said.

"Timing was right with us losing Sonny and Ma'a in the midfield so we were looking for an experienced midfielder and I suppose the stars aligned."

MacDonald said although Ioane is listed as a midfielder for the season, he will still be seen as an option on the wing with three of the four Blues players listed as outside backs all rookies with no Super Rugby experience.