Super Rugby 2019: All Black Rieko Ioane back for Blues against Hurricanes

Star wing Rieko Ioane will return to the Blues for their Super Rugby derby against the Hurricanes on Friday, with rookie Harry Plummer handed the start at first-five.

Ioane missed last week's loss to the Brumbies on All Blacks welfare leave, but will be back in the number-11 jersey, as his team seek to break a three-game losing streak and keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Auckland-based side are currently fourth in the New Zealand conference and four points outside a top-six playoff spot overall.

"We're clearly disappointed with our overall performances in the last three games away," says coach Leon MacDonald.

"There have been lots of good aspects in each of those games, there have been one or two aspects in each of them that have let us down.

Notably, MacDonald has departed from the strategy of bringing some of the front-line players off the bench to close games, after his side let an early 12-0 advantage slip away.

International props Karl Tu'inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi join Super Rugby centurion James Parsons in the front row, captain Patrick Tuipulotu starts at lock, with Dalton Papalii joining Blake Gibson and Akira Ioane in the loose forwards.

Breakout flanker Tom Robinson and prop Alex Hodgman are unavailable through concussion.

Plummer replaces Otere Black in the 10-jersey and Tanielu Tele'a steps in for an ill Caleb Clarke on the right wing.

"The 'Canes are a little bit different to the Brumbies and pose quite a different threat, so we're looking at the best team to face that," says MacDonald. 

Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-James Parsons, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Dalton Papalii, 7-Blake Gibson, 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Sam Nock, 10-Harry Plummer, 11-Rieko Ioane, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 13-TJ Faiane, 14-Tanielu Tele'a, 15-Melani Nanai

Reserves: 16-Leni Apisai, 17-Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-Scott Scrafton, 20-Jed Brown, 21-Augustine Pulu, 22-Otere Black, 23-Matt Duffie


Join us at 7:30pm Friday for live updates of the Blues v Hurricanes Super Rugby clash

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