News24.com | Dan Carter’s Blues debut further delayed

Dan Carter during the Round 1 Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Blues and the Hurricanes at Eden Park on June 14, 2020 in Auckland.

Dan Carter during the Round 1 Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Blues and the Hurricanes at Eden Park on June 14, 2020 in Auckland.

Phil Walter / Getty Images

The Blues have been forced to make few alterations to their side for Saturday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Kick-off is at 09:05 (SA time).

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A trio Bay of Plenty players come into the starting XV, with Kurt Eklund and Aaron Carroll replacing the injured pair of James Parsons and Blake Gibson in the pack, while Emoni Narawa, who celebrated his 21st birthday this week, comes in for an unavailable Caleb Clarke on the wing.

The debut for 141-game Super Rugby veteran Dan Carter is on hold with the Blues taking the precaution to replace him on the bench after he was hampered with a minor calf twinge at training. His place on the bench is taken by Matt Duffie, while lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, back from injury, will celebrate his 50th game for the Blues.

Head coach Leon MacDonald told the Blues’ official website they have taken plenty of positives from last week’s 26-15 loss to the Crusaders.

“We did a lot of very good things at set phase and the collision area, and we produced some important front-foot ball. Hopefully the boys can take confidence from those positives into what will be another big battle this week,” said MacDonald.

“The Hurricanes are playing well and are renowned for their physical rush defence which we will need to counter.

“The nature of this competition means there will be injuries but that also represents opportunities for other players in the squad who have been working hard for their opportunity. Kurt and Aaron were both excellent when they came on last week, and Emoni has trained impressively in recent weeks to earn his chance.

“We have resisted any significant change in the backs. We are really pleased with how Harry Plummer is performing, while we believe Otere at first five (flyhalf) and Beauden at fullback is our best option at present as they combine well.”

Teams:

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (co-captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (co-captain), 1 Ben May

Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Wes Goosen

Blues

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Aaron Carroll, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman

Substitutes: 16 Tolai Luteru, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 TJ Faiane, 23 Matt Duffie

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