Super Rugby 2019: Ma'a Nonu returns to Blues midfield against Jaguares

Former All Blacks teammates Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams continue to play musical chairs in the Blues midfield to take on the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

Riding a two-game losing streak to start the 2019 Super Rugby season, the Auckland-base franchise face a tough encounter against the Argentinians on their way home from their South African road trip.

But the two internationals - primarily used at second-five during their careers - have yet to pair up in the starting line-up and probably won't in the foreseeable future, suggests Blues assistant coach Tana Umaga.

"We've stated right from the start that we would be managing those two," he says. "They'll be able to swap in and out as we get through the season.

"It's an opportunity for Ma'a and that was the plan all along."

Williams and Nonu did combine for 30 minutes of the season-opener against the Crusaders, when the former replaced TJ Faiane at second-five during the second half.

All Blacks Rieko Ioane and Patrick Tuipulotu have both been named to start their third straight game, and will face limits on their game-time this week.

Under All Blacks welfare protocols, New Zealand's top players can only accumulate 180 minutes over the opening three weeks - Ioane has logged 137 minutes and Tuipolotu 133.

"I can confirm they're on limite minutes - the exact minutes, I'm not too sure," says Umaga. "It's a bit longer than a half."

Blues coach Leon Macdonald continues to mix-and-match his props, with Alex Hodgman replacing All Blacks front-rower Karl Tu'inukuafe in the only change to the starting pack.

Halfback Augustine Pulu will wear number nine for the first time this season, while rookie Tanielu Tele'a is listed on the wing for his first Super Rugby start.  

Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-James Parsons, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 5 Josh Goodhue, 6 Tom Robinson, 7 Dalton Papalii, 8 Akira Ioane, 9 Augustine Pulu, 10 Otere Black, 11 Rieko Ioane, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 13 TJ Faiane, 14 Tanielu Tele'a, 15 Melani Nanai

Reserves: 16-Matt Moulds, 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18-Sione Mafileo, 19-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20-Matt Matich, 21-Jonathan Ruru, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Sonny Bill Williams

Join us at 10:30am Sunday for live updates of the Blues vs Jaguares Super Rugby clash from Buenos Aires.