Super Rugby 2019: Blues make two changes for Stormers clash

The Blues have made two key changes in their starting line-up to face the Stormers on Saturday, as they target a third consecutive Super Rugby win.

Otere Black comes in at first-five in a direct swap, with Harry Plumber dropped to the bench, while co-captain Patrick Tuipulotu starts at lock, replacing Josh Goodhue, who has a shoulder injury.

Both Black and Tuipulotu came off the bench against the Highlanders, and played pivotal roles in helping the Blues to their first win against a New Zealand franchise in 20 attempts.

The pair will add firepower to the Blues starting side, but the real impact will again come off the bench, with five capped All Blacks named in the reserves.

Props Karl Tu'inukiafe and Ofa Tungafasi, flanker Dalton Papalii, halfback Augustine Pulu and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams will all look to make a significant impact in the second half.

Left-winger Rieko Ioane will play his sixth consecutive match, meaning he'll miss next week's tussle against the Waratahs, due to the welfare protocols agreed among the All Blacks, Super Rugby teams and New Zealand Rugby.

Ioane has been in deadly form, scoring six tries in his last two matches.

The Blues are favourites heading into the match, despite losing six of their last seven against the Cape Town-based side.

On the flip side, the Stormers haven't won in New Zealand since 2013.

"There's good competition for places in the team and that is creating some quality efforts at training, which is what we want," said Blues coach Leon MacDonald.

"There is another opportunity for us at home. The win last week has added to our confidence and we want to play well at Eden Park in front of our fans.

"That win won't mean much unless we can continue to improve our performances with every game. The Stormers are going to bring a very difficult challenge than the Highlanders and we must be better, if we are to get a positive result."

Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-James Parsons, 3-Sione Mafileo, 4-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson, 7-Blake Gibson, 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Jonathan Ruru, 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-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Karl Tu'inukuafe i, 19-Scott Scrafton, 20-Dalton Papalii, 21-Augustine Pulu, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Sonny Bill Williams

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Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Blues vs Stormers Super Rugby clash