Woodcock to win 140th cap for Blues against Chiefs

The Blues have named their team to play the Super Rugby season opening match against the Chiefs North Harbour’s QBE Stadium with Tony Woodcock returning to the starting line up.

Blues centurion and World Cup hero Woodcock will win his 140th cap for the Blues as he starts at loosehead prop.

Woodcock brings with him a wealth of experience as he has also played for the All Blacks 110 times.

The Blues will be led by new captain Jerome Kaino, with the All Black loose forward to play his first match since the winning northern tour late last year.

He will be joined by fellow All Blacks James parsons and Charles Piutau in the starting line-up, while prop Charlie Faumuina will come off the bench.

Fifty-game All Black Jimmy Cowan will earn his 124th Super Rugby cap, but his first for the Blues since returning to New Zealand rugby following two years in English rugby with Gloucester. He forms a new partnership with Maori All Black first-five Ihaia West.

There’s a strong look to the Blues pack with star loose forward Steven Luatua in outstanding form in pre-season and forming a powerful back-row combination with Kaino and Brendon O’Connor.

Players of interest coming off the bench include the 2014 captain Luke Braid, coming back from double shoulder reconstruction, and the exciting teenager Akira Ioane who was signed this week by the Blues.

Blues

1. Tony Woodcock , 2. James Parsons , 3. Angus Ta’avao , 4. Josh Bekhuis , 5. Hayden Triggs , 6. Steven Luatua , 7. Brendon O’Connor , 8. Jerome Kaino (C) , 9. Jimmy Cowan , 10. Ihaia West , 11. Tevita Li , 12. Francis Saili , 13. George Moala/Hamish Northcott , 14. Charles Piutau , 15. Lolagi Visinia

Replacements :16. Matt Moulds , 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi , 18. Charlie Faumuina , 19. Akira Ioane , 20. Luke Braid , 21. Jamison Gibson-Park , 22. Simon Hickey , 23. Hamish Northcott/Ben Lam

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