John Kirwan has opted to field a young side for the Blues’ first warm-up match against the Reds on Saturday.
In the absence of All Blacks such as Ali Williams, Anthony Boric, Piri Weepu, Rene Ranger and Charlie Faumuina, Luke Braid has been tasked with leading this inexperienced side. Charles Piutau, Culum Retallick and George Moala have also been rested.
Kirwan has selected nine new players in his starting XV, reasoning that he already knows what the more established players can offer. By contrast, the Reds have selected 11 Wallabies in their matchday squad.
Blues – 15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Ronald Raaymakers, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Angus Ta’avo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Reserves: Albert Nikoro, Lolagi Visinia, Pita Ahki, Francis Saili, Jamison Gibson-Park, Joe Edwards, Sean Polwart, Brendon O’Connor, Steven Luatua, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Tim Perry, Quentin MacDonald.