Super Rugby 2019: All Blacks prop Ofa Tuungafasi named for Blues start against Crusaders

All Blacks prop Ofa Tuungafasi has been promoted to the Blues starting line-up, as the Auckland-based franchise powers up for their Super Rugby home clash with the Crusaders.

After coming off the bench against the Chiefs and Waratahs, the 35-test veteran will make his first start of the season against the three-time defending champions at Eden Park on Saturday.

Tuungafasi will join an international front row that also features hooker James Parsons and prop Karl Tu'inukuafe - the Blues' third different line-up in as many games.

The trio anchored the scrum for 18 minutes of the second half during the 32-12 win over the Waratahs last Saturday.

"When the Super Rugby schedule comes out, you always look first for the Crusaders game," says Blues coach Leon MacDonald, who won Super Rugby titles as a Crusaders player and assistant coach.

"They are the benchmark. It is a game where the hairs on the back of your neck bristle and this one will be no different.

"I know the boys are excited about this one. We know they will bring their best game to Eden park - they always do - and especially after a loss."

MacDonald will field an unchanged backline, with Stephen Perofeta retaining the No.10 first-five jersey and Matt Duffie at fullback.

Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-James Parsons, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Dalton Papalii, 7-Blake Gibson, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Jonathan Ruru, 10-Stephen Perofeta, 11-Mark Telea, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Joe Marchant, 14-Jordan Hyland, 15-Matt Duffie.

Reserves: 16-Kurt Eklund, 17-Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18-Sione Mafileo, 19-Tom Robinson, 20-Tony Lamborn, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Emoni Narawa

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