Official team lists and injury news for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final.
Blues v Highlanders
7:05pm Saturday, June 19
Eden Park, Auckland
The Blues will be without Tom Robinson and Ofa Tuungafasi for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final, with the influential forwards not recovering from injury in time to face the Highlanders.
Robinson, 26, will miss Saturday’s final after taking a head knock in the Blues’ final round-robin win over the Force, while All Black Tuungafasi is also out of action with knee and finger complaints.
In their place, All Blacks duo Akira Ioane starts in place of Robinson, while Nepo Laulala keeps the No.3 jersey, with Marcel Renata and Blake Gibson starting from the bench as cover.
In better news for the Blues though, flanker Dalton Papalii has been given the all-clear, after struggling with a hip knock sustained against the Force.
First-five Otere Black has been cleared to play, despite limping out of training in the week, meaning the Blues resist the urge to rush All Black Beauden Barrett back into the side.
Blues: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Nepo Laulala, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 5-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 6-Akira Ioane, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Otere Black, 11-Mark Telea, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Bryce Heem, 15-Zarn Sullivan.
Reserves: 16-Ray Niuia, 17-Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-Josh Goodhue, 20-Blake Gibson, 21-Jonathan Ruru, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-AJ Lam.
Ash Dixon will bring up a century of appearances for the Highlanders, named to co-captain the side in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final against the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.
Dixon, 32, notches a special milestone for the Highlanders, having moved south from the Hurricanes in 2015.
He's joined as co-captain by Aaron Smith, fresh off a double in the 33-12 victory over the Brumbies.
Lock Pari Pari Parkinson and winger Jona Nareki have both been passed fit to play, after their respective injury scares against the Brumbies.
Highlanders: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Ash Dixon (cc), 3-Siate Tokolahi, 4-Pari Pari Parkinson, 5-Bryn Evans, 6-Hugh Renton, 7-Billy Harmon, 8-Kazuki Himeno, 9-Aaron Smith (cc), 10-Mitch Hunt, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Scott Gregory, 13-Michael Collins, 14-Sio Tomkinson, 15-Josh Ioane
Reserves: 16-Liam Coltman, 17-Ayden Johnstone, 18-Josh Hohneck, 19-Josh Dickson, 20-James Lentjes, 21-Kayne Hammington, 22-Sam Gilbert, 23-Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
Join Newshub for live updates of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final from 7:05pm Saturday.