The Blues’ young newcomers will get the chance to test themselves against a powerful Reds outfit when the two sides meet for their first pre-season trial of the year in Toowoomba on Saturday (kick-off 10pm NZT)
While the Blues will take a 27-man squad featuring 18 uncapped players across the Tasman, they’ll come up against a Reds side boasting 11 capped Wallabies from 2012.
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan said it would be a great challenge for his young team and he was looking forward to seeing them express themselves.
“They’re all ready to go, they’ve been training really hard and now it’s time to play,” Kirwan said.
“We’ve left some of the more experienced guys at home, we know what they can do so it’s a chance for the young boys to have a go.”
Luke Braid will captain the side in the absence of Ali Williams, who alongside fellow All Blacks Piri Weepu and Charlie Faumuina, will not travel to Queensland.
Anthony Boric, Rene Ranger, Charles Piutau, Culum Retallick and George Moala will also remain at home.
The starting XV features nine players who have yet to pull on a Blues jersey including the entire backline, while nine reserves are also new to the franchise.
The Blues team to face the Queensland Reds at the Toowoomba Sports Ground on Saturday (kick-off 10.00pm NZT) is:
15. Marty McKenzie
14. Waisake Naholo
13. Malakai Fekitoa
12. Jackson Willison
11. Frank Halai
10. Baden Kerr
9. Bryn Hall
8. Peter Saili
7. Luke Braid (C)
6. Kane Barrett
5. Ronald Raaymakers
4. Liaki Moli
3. Angus Ta’avao
2. James Parsons
1. Tom McCartney