Super Rugby 2019: James Parsons to notch century for Blues against Highlanders

Hooker James Parsons will join an elite club when the Blues take on the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday.

The 32-year-old will become the sixth Blues player to reach the 100-game milestone.

Making his debut in 2012, Parsons will become the franchise's joint fastest player to raise his century, joining fellow prop John Afoa in needing eight seasons to reach the mark.

The North Harbour stalwart admitted it wasn't initially on his list of playing goals, he was quietly pleased with the achievement.

"I'm pretty proud that I've managed to have a bit of stickability," said Parsons.

Fellow hooker and Blues legend Keven Mealamu - the team's most capped player - praised his successor's efforts.

"It is so great to see JP earn his 100th game for the Blues," said Mealamu.

"He is a professional in every sense, an awesome teammate and a great man as well. This is so well deserved for such a true Blues man."

There's just one change to the side that fell to the Chiefs, with All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi shifting to the bench to take on an impact role. Sione Mafileo will don the number three jersey.

Coach Leon MacDonald wants his side to build on the kind of form that saw them win four-straight games, before last weekend's loss in Hamilton.

"We need to continue to raise our performances each and every week," said MacDonald. "Cherish our ball more and ensure we come out on the right side of the physical battle at the breakdown."

The Blues have never beaten the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-James Parsons, 3-Siona Mafileo, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 5-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 6-Tom Robinson, 7-Dalton Papali'I, 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Jonathan Ruru, 10-Otere Black, 11-Rieko Ioane, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 13-TJ Faiane, 14-Caleb Clarke, 15-Melani Nanai

Reserves: 16-Leni Apisai, 17-Alex Hodgman, 18-Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19-Josh Goodhue, 20-Jed Brown, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Matt Duffie

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