On Sunday at 0.35 in the morning, Blues and Chiefs will close the date 7 of the exciting Super Rugby Aotearoa in a game that highlights the return of Beauden Barrett as an opening after 321 days. The meeting can be enjoyed live on ESPN Play or delayed on Sunday from 17, on ESPN 3.
For the first time this season, Barrett will start from the start with the 10 shirt on his back since coming to the Auckland outfit, with Otere Black struggling to recover and be on the bench after a neck injury from a blow to the last game against Hurricanes last weekend. On the other hand, Dan Carter still does not appear among the 23.
“It was our best option for the fullback with the luxury of having another outstanding No. 10 in Otere Black,” said head coach Leon MacDonald. Barrett’s last time as an opening was with the All Blacks against Tonga in the run-up to RWC 2019.
As Barrett moves into the opening, Matt Duffie starts out as a fullback, while Blake Gibson returns from injury for his 50th game with the Blues jersey. In addition, Caleb Clarke returns to the ownership.
Among the forwards Blake Gibson replaces Caroll in the third line, while in the second Gerard Cowley-Tuioti enters for Josh Googhue who will go to the substitute bank.
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Blake Gibson, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Substitutes: 16 Tolai Luteru, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black / Emoni Narawa, 23 Harry Plummer.