Super Rugby: Injury-hit Blues unveil another newcomer for Crusaders match

  • 17/05/2018
Melani Nani shifts back to the right wing.
Melani Nani shifts back to the right wing. Photo credit: Photosport

The Blues will blood another young forward in Super Rugby following the cruel shoulder injury suffered by All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

Counties Manukau second rower Matiaha Martin will make his debut in the starting side against the Crusaders in Auckland on Saturday.

He replaces 16-Test lock Tuipulotu, who damaged his shoulder in the 36-15 loss to the Hurricanes and is unlikely to be considered for the June international series against France.

Lock has been a vexed position for the Blues, who have lost Scott Scrafton and Jimmy Tupou to season-ending injuries, while Josh Goodhue's ongoing medical woes has opened the door for youngsters Ben Nee-Nee and Lyndon Dunshea.

The Blues have made up to three other changes as they seek to notch a first win at Eden Park this season following five defeats.

Melani Nanai is back on the right wing, allowing Rieko Ioane to play on his favoured left side, with Caleb Clarke making way.

Pauliasi Manu starts at prop in place of Ross Wright while flanker Dalton Papali'i could return if he passes a late fitness test.

Blues: Matt Duffie, Melani Nanai, Orbyn Leger, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Stephen Perofeta, Augustine Pulu (capt), Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali'i/Murphy Taramai, Jerome Kaino, Matiaha Martin, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, James Parsons, Pauliasi Manu.

Reserves: Matt Moulds, Ross Wright, Sione Mafileo, Been Nee-Nee, Taramai/Antonio Kiri Kiri, Jonathan Ruru, Dan Kirkpatrick, Michael Collins.

AAP