Blues include their All Blacks for the Force

The Blues have named their team to play the Western Force on Saturday at Eden Park and included All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Charles Piutau.

The Blues have also been able to name Kaino and Piutau’s fellow All Black James Parsons on the replacements bench.

All Blacks Kaino and Piutau were rested in the interests of the New Zealand national side and Kaino said he feels refreshed, mentally and physically, after his week’s break and with six games remaining there is still plenty for the team to focus on to finish the season strongly.

Kaino’s return to the starting line up sees him resuming as captain while former  captain Luke Braid returns through the bench after missing the two games following a head knock.

Teenager star Akira Ioane retains his starting spot after eye-catching displays against the Highlanders and the Crusaders, with Lolagi Visinia rewarded with a strong game at fullback last week, moving to the right wing.

The ever-consistent lock Josh Bekhuis and midfield back George Moala are carrying niggling injuries and are currently bracketed with a final decision tomorrow on their availability.

Blues

1.Tony Woodcock, 2. Keven Mealamu, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 4. Josh Bekhuis/Culum Retallick, 5. Hayden Triggs, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Brendon O’Connor, 8. Jerome Kaino (c), 9. Jimmy Cowan, 10. Dan Bowden, 11. Melani Nanai, 12. George Moala/Hamish Northcott, 13. Francis Saili, 14. Lolagi Visinia, 15 Charles Piutau

Replacements : , 16. James Parsons, 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Steven Luatua, 20. Luke Braid, 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, 22. Ihaia West, 23. Hamish Northcott/Tevita Li

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