World Cup winning All Black Charlie Faumuina makes his first start of the Investec Super Rugby Championship for the Blues against the Hurricanes at Eden Park on Friday.
In a planned return, Faumuina has come off the bench in the opening two games, but will join Ofa Tu’ungafasi and James Parsons in the front row.
Coach Tana Umaga continues to select the team that best suits their game plan, with Steven Luatua to start at lock with Josh Bekhuis, in his 99th Super Rugby game. All Black lock Patrick Tuipulotu will come off the bench after two full games in his return from major off-season surgery and rehabilitation.
New Zealand Sevens player Akira Ioane gets his first start of the year at No 8.
The backline from the opening game against the Highlanders is in place aside from Rene Ranger to start on the wing.
The match at Eden Park kicks off at 7.35pm with the KRF College Curtain-raiser between St Peters College and Massey High School in a trial match starting at 5.05pm.
The Blues team is:
Ofa Tu’ungafasi, James Parsons, Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua, Josh Bekhuis, Jerome Kaino ©, Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane; Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Tevita Li, George Moala, Male Sa’u, Rene Ranger, Lolagi Visinia.
Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Nic Mayhew, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Melani Nanai.