Super Rugby Aotearoa: Beauden Barrett retained at first-five, Blues make one change for Highlanders clash

Beauden Barrett has retained his spot at first-five for Sunday's Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin, with coach Leon MacDonald making one positional switch to his side. 

Last week, Barrett wore the No.10 jersey for the first time since September last year, as he steered the Blues to a 21-17 win over the Chiefs in Auckland. 

Barrett's opportunity at first-five came after regular starter Otere Black got injured against the Hurricanes, but managed to take his spot on the bench against the Chiefs.

"He took the opportunity with two hands and he's earned the right to do it again," says Blues assistant Tana Umaga. 

"Otere was doing a job for us and was playing fantastic, but there has been competition for spots everywhere and that has made the plays step up at training." 

The only change to the Blues starting side sees prop Karl Tu'inukuafe come in for Alex Hodgman, who will come off the bench. 

"Karl has had a few injuries and he did what was asked of him when he came off the bench [against the Chiefs]," Umaga added.  

"Being props you have to rotate them, so Alex will get his chance." 

The rest of the team is unchanged. 

Super Rugby Aotearoa: Beauden Barrett retained at first-five, Blues make one change for Highlanders clash

The Blues have won two of their last three Super Rugby games against the Highlanders, including a 27-24 win when they last met earlier this season. 

Blues need a win to stay in touch with the table-topping Crusaders, while the Highlanders need a victory to keep alive their slim hopes of winning Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-Kurt Eklund 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 5-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 6-Blake Gibson, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Beauden Barrett, 11-Caleb Clarke, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Mark Telea, 15-Matt Duffie.

Reserves: 16-Luteru Tolai, 17-Alex Hodgman, 18-Sione Mafileo, 19-Josh Goodhue, 20-Tony Lamborn, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Otere Black or Emoni Harawa, 23-Harry Plummer.

Join us for live updates of Highlanders v Blues from 3:35pm Sunday

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