Blues rotate key All Blacks for Crusaders clash

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan has rotated his All Blacks for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Kirwan has rested Jerome Kaino, James Parsons and Charles Piutau for this weekend and handed the captaincy to former captain Keven Mealamu.

All Black hooker Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina all come into the starting line up after being named on the bench last weekend.

The All Black starting front row boasts 260 Test caps and 383 Super Rugby games collectively under their belts.

Kaino has been rested as part of the All Blacks rotation after playing in eight of the Blues’ nine games.

Steven Luatua returns to play at No 8 with teenager Akira Ioane given a second game after his impressive debut last week, while Jimmy Cowan returns to start at halfback and Lolagi Visinia at fullback.

Players not considered because of injury are Patrick Tuipulotu, out with a leg injury, and Pita Ahki with a hamstring injury, both likely to be out for two weeks.

Northland hookers Matt Moulds comes on to the bench looking for his debut.

Blues

Tony Woodcock , Keven Mealamu (c) , Charlie Faumuina , Josh Bekhuis , Hayden Triggs , Akira Ioane , Brendon O’Connor , Steven Luatua , Jimmy Cowan , Dan Bowden , Melani Nanai , George Moala , Francis Saili , Frank Halai , Lolagi Visinia

Replacements : 16. Matt Moulds , 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi , 18. Angus Ta’avao , 19. Culum Retallick , 20. Blake Gibson , 21. Jamison Gibson-Park , 22. Ihaia West , 23. Tevita Li

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