Kane Barrett and Tom Murday will make their return from injury tonight, with both named to start for the Blues Development team.
They are joined by fellow squad members Pita Ahki, Tevita Li and Jamison Gibson-Park in the Development Team’s third match against the Chiefs (kick off 5pm at Papatoetoe Rugby Club).
Coach Steve Jackson said having Barrett and Murday in the mix would add a lot to his team.
“Both of them bring a lot of experience so it’s great to have them in our environment. We think our line out will operate better with them on the park,” said Jackson.
“It’s exciting to have guys like Pita and Tevita as well, they are the type of players that can turn a game on its head.”
After strong performances in the first two Development games, Lolagi Visinia is now a starting feature in the top side.
“Lolagi is a great example of what this programme is about. He took his opportunities with us and has not only be promoted but is starting and doing so well.
“That’s what our job is, to give these guys good quality rugby.”
Having recently been named in the New Zealand Under 20 team, Leon Fukofuka, TJ Faiane and Vince Aso will all start in the back line.
“This will be a good lead in for them. It’s Leon’s first game with us and its his opportunity to showcase what he’s got.”
Other features of the team see Dan Pryor return to the openside flank, while Matt McGahan starts at first five-eighths after impressing in the Blues pre-season.
Jackson said he expects a big challenge from the Chiefs.
“This is the fifth outing for them so they’ve had a lot of time to get combinations together – its only our third match.
“There is no doubt it will be another big clash and we know we have room for improvement from our last performance.”
Blues Development v Chiefs Development
Thursday 1st May
kick off 5pm
Papatoetoe Rugby Club
The Blues Development team is;
1. Fraser Armstrong (Auckland)
2. Matt Moulds (Northland)
3. Namatahi Waa (Auckland)
4. Tom Murday (Blues)
5. William Lloyd (Auckland)
6. Kane Barrett (Blues) ñ captain
7. Dan Pryor (Northland)
8. Dillon Wihongi (North Harbour)
9. Leon Fukofuka (Auckland)
10. Matt McGahan (North Harbour)
11. Tevita Li (Blues)
12. TJ Faiane (Auckland)
13. Pita Ahki (Blues)
14. Vince Aso (Auckland)
15. Marty Swart (North Harbour)
16. Ray Niuia (North Harbour)
17. Adrian Smith (North Harbour)
18. Alex Wooton (North Harbour)
19. Scott Scrafton (Auckland)
20. Blake Gibson (Auckland)
21. Jamison Gibson-Park (Blues)
22. Daniel Hawkins (Northland)
23. Jonie Macalai (Northland)