McAlister back for Blues

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McAlister back for Blues

Luke McAlister is set to make his first Super Rugby appearance for the Blues off the bench this year.

The All Blacks utility back was supposed to return a fortnight ago after recovering from a calf injury, but a head collision during training saw him suffer a broken nose which kept him out for another two weeks.

Head coach Pat Lam has decided to bring McAlister onto the bench after he performed well for the Blues development side last weekend.

Lam also made another enforced change as loosehead prop Charlie Faumuina fills in for the injured Tony Woodcock (neck).

Blues – 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Charlie Faumuina.
Subs: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Paul Williams.

Donald makes way for Delany

Mike Delany will start at pivot when the Chiefs face the Highlanders in Mt Maunganui on Saturday.

There was much talk after the All Blacks’ end-of-year tour last season about a Delany/Stephen Donald flyhalf and inside centre combination. But Delany has only started at fullback this season in the absence of skipper Mils Muliaina and made late appearances as a substitute.

Delany will finally receive his chance in the No 10 jersey this weekend as Donald moves to inside centre and Jackson Willison dropped to the bench. Callum Bruce fails to make the match 22.

Head coach Ian Foster has also made four other changes. Wing Dwayne Sweeney, flank Luke Braid, hooker Hika Elliot and tighthead prop Ben Afeaki come in for the injured Sitiveni Sivivatu (shoulder), Tanerau Latimer (knee), Aled de Malmanche (broken thumb) and Nathan White (back) respectively.

Chiefs – 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo. Subs: 16 Vern Kamo, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Colin Bourke, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.

This thread will be updated throughout the course of the day.