The Blues have set the Super Rugby Aotearoa alight in the opening two rounds. After dispatching the Hurricanes at home in round one, the Blues picked up a big win on the road against the Chiefs to make it a club record of five wins away from home in a row. The Highlanders will be fresh after a bye last week and should ride into Auckland with plenty of confidence on the back of their last gasp victory over the Chiefs in round one.
Blues Head Coach Leon MacDonald has stayed loyal to side that did the business in Hamilton last week by naming an unchanged starting line-up. “This group of 23 continue to do the business. They are developing well to the style of game we want to play and adapting positively to the new rule emphasis, which will lead to a more exciting and fluid game,” MacDonald said.
Super Rugby Aotearoa as it happens: Blues vs Highlanders
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Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, Caleb Clarke, Otere Black, Sam Nock, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Josh Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman.
Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Tony Lamborn, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Joe Marchant.
Scott Gregory, Sam Gilbert, Rob Thompson, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon, Ayden Johnstone.
Reserves: Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland, Ngane Punivai