Former Melbourne NRL winger Matt Duffie has paid the price for his poor Super Rugby debut with the speedster one of eight changes to the Blues’ starting line up to face the Hurricanes on Friday.
Duffie made every highlights reel for the wrong reason last week when he was sent flying when attempting to tackle powerhouse Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo in the Blues’ 28-13 loss in Christchurch.
Blues coach Tana Umaga made six changes to his starting team for the Crusaders clash after an opening round win over defending champions the Highlanders, so it was no surprise to see him reshuffle his squad again.
Umaga has summoned two of his big hitters to face the Hurricanes after handing starts to prop Charlie Faumuina and sevens star Akira Ioane.
All Black Faumuina came off the bench to help shore up a wobbly scrum in last week’s loss to the Crusaders in what is a planned return, according to the Blues.
Ioane, who has also been restricted to bench duties, will begin the clash at Eden Park at No.8.
Fullback Duffie misses out to fit-again Lolagi Visinia while Rene Ranger shifts from centre to replace Melani Nanai on the wing.
Japan’s Male Sa’u slots in at centre while Bryn Hall and Ihaia West are restored as the halfback pairing.
Hooker James Parsons starts but All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu is relegated to the bench with Steven Luatua moving to the second row.
Blues: Lolagi Visinia, Rene Ranger, Male Su’a, George Moala, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Bryn Hall, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Jerome Kaino (capt), Josh Bekhuis, Steven Luatua, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Nic Mayhew, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Melani Nanai.