Parsons takes on captaincy for the Blues

Parsons takes on captaincy for the Blues

James Parsons becomes the third All Black to take on the captaincy role for the Blues, when he leads an injury-depleted team to meet the table-topping Hurricanes at Eden Park on Saturday night.

The North Harbour skipper takes the captain’s armband after injuries to previous leaders Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua.
Parsons, called into the All Blacks team during their northern tour late last year, has played strongly this year, appearing in 11 games along with his two weeks off on All Blacks leave.
He forms a new front row with Sam Prattley, receiving his first start of the year, and Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who will play his 27th game for the Blues.
New Zealand Under-20s representatives Blake Gibson and the inform Akira Ioane will pair up in the loose forwards, with the outstanding Brendon O’Connor, before the pair joins the New Zealand team that leaves next week to contest the world cup in Italy.
The backline that performed so well in the win over the Bulls last week remains unchanged with teenager Matt Vaega from the Wider Training Group and fellow North Harbour replacement Nick Mayhew will be looking for their Super Rugby debuts off the bench.
The KFC Curtain Raisers series this week will feature the powerhouse teams of Kelston Boys against Auckland Grammar, kicking off at 5.05pm.
The team is:

  1. Sam Prattley
  2. James Parsons (c)
  3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
  4. Culum Retallick
  5. Josh Bekhuis
  6. Brendon O’Connor
  7. Blake Gibson
  8. Akira Ioane
  9. Jamison Gibson-Park
  10. Ihaia West
  11. Melani Nanai
  12. George Moala
  13. Francis Saili
  14. Ben Lam
  15. Lolagi Visinia

Reserves:†

†16. Keven Mealamu
†17. Angus Ta’avao
†18. Nic Mayhew
†19. Will Lloyd/Hayden Triggs
†20. Joe Edwards
†21. Jimmy Cowan
†22. Simon Hickey†
†23. Matt Vaega