Bowden to debut as injured players return

Bowden to debut as injured players return

Former Highlanders and Crusaders flyhalf Dan Bowden will make his Blues Super Rugby debut on Saturday.

Bowden, who has been sidelined with a foot injury, has been named to start at first five against the Waratahs in Sydney.

The former Northland and Auckland representative signed for the Blues for two years after playing in UK and Japan for the past four years. He has played 27 Super Rugby caps but Saturday is his first for the Blues after he, wife Hayley and baby son returned to their hometown of Auckland this year.

Ihaia West, who has kicked 56 points in five games, gets a break after playing virtually every minute this year.

Hayden Triggs gets the starting job with All Black Patrick Tuipuloto at lock, with Josh Bekhuis spelled with injury, while Brendon O’Connor gets the start at No 7 with Luke Braid on the bench.

There are several players returning to the squad for the first time after early season injuries including George Moala who has his first start at centre, with former All Black Sevens player Pita Ahki and lock Culum Retallick on the bench.

All Black Charles Piutau will move fullback after playing two games at centre.
Players not considered because of injury include Bryn Hall, who will be out for approximately eight weeks after fracturing his foot in club rugby last week, and Bekhuis, who is expected to be available for selection next week.

The Blues team is:

  1. Tony Woodcock
  2. James Parsons
  3. Charlie Faumuina
  4. Hayden Triggs
  5. Patrick Tuipulotu
  6. Steven Luatua
  7. Brendon O’Connor
  8. Jerome Kaino (c)
  9. Jimmy Cowan
  10. Dan Bowden
  11. Melani Nanai
  12. Francis Saili
  13. George Moala
  14. Frank Halai
  15. Charles Piutau

16. Keven Mealamu
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi/Sam Prattley
18. Angus Ta’avao
19. Culum Retallick
20. Luke Braid
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Simon Hickey
23. Pita Ahki