Bar­rett Starts At First Five

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Beau­den Bar­rett, the two-time world player of the year, will make the first of his six starts for the Blues at first­five when they host the Chiefs at Eden Park, this af­ter­noon.

Blues coach Leon MacDon­ald said they brought Beau­den to the Blues to run the cut­ter but af­ter the sea­son-end­ing in­jury to Stephen Pero­feta, it forced a re­think.

“He was our best op­tion for full­back with the lux­ury of hav­ing an­other out­stand­ing No.10 in Otere Black,” said MacDon­ald.

“With Otere car­ry­ing a slight in­jury, then we’ve moved Beau­den to 10 and I am sure he is look­ing for­ward to that chal­lenge, while Matt Duffie was good when he came on at full­back.”

Loosie Blake Gibson re­turns af­ter a ham­string twinge to play at open­side in his 50tth game.

“We are pleased to have Blake back on the field. He is key part to our loose for­ward mix both de­fen­sively and with ball in hand and I am sure the team want him to en­joy his 50th game with a strong per­for­mance.

“Over­all we want a much more fo­cused and en­er­getic ef­fort this week, par­tic­u­larly from the pack so we can sup­ply some front-foot ball to set our back­line into ac­tion.

“De­fence has been a key but we missed 30 tack­les last week which is not go­ing to en­able us to win many games.

“With that is­sue and a plat­form that was not as sta­ble as it has been, then to be hon­est we did well to have our noses In­front in­side the last 10 min­utes.

“There were lots of good things with our li­ne­out, mauls and some good car­ries. We know the Chiefs are much bet­ter than their re­sults and will bring ev­ery­thing to this match as they al­ways do.

“There’s ev­ery­thing to play for and we are ex­cited to be home at Eden Park in front of a big crowd of fans on Sun­day.”

In the re­serves All Black Karl Tu’inukuafe and Sam Nock re­turn from in­jury while util­ity Emoni Narawa is brack­eted with Otere Black, who will need to come through Fri­day’s con­tact ses­sion.

The match kicks-off at 3.35pm

LINE-UP Blues:

15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Te­lea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Fa­iane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beau­den Bar­rett, 9 Fin­lay Christie; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dal­ton Pa­palii, 6 Blake Gibson, 5 Gerard Cow­ley-Tui­oti, 4 Patrick Tuip­u­lotu ©, 3 Ofa Tu­un­gafasi, 2 Kurt Ek­lund, 1 Alex Hodg­man.

Re­serves: 16 Luteru To­lai, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tony Lam­born, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black or Emoni Narawa, 23 Harry Plum­mer.

Chiefs: 1. Reuben O’Neill 2. Bradley Slater

3. Nepo Laulala 4. Tupou Vaa’i 5. Mitchell Brown 6. Lach­lan Boshier 7. Sam Cane © 8. Pita Gus Sowakula 9. Brad We­ber 10. Kaleb Trask 11.Solomon Alaimalo 12. Alex Nankiv­ell 13. An­ton Lienert-Brown 14. Sean Wainui

15. Damian McKen­zie

Re­serves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ol­lie Nor­ris, Ross Gelden­huys, Adam Thom­son, Mitchell Karpik, Lisati Milo-Har­ris, Aaron Cru­den, Quinn Tu­paea - Su­per Rugby Aotearoa

Blues first five- eighth Beau­den Bar­rett (with ball) works on his kick­ing while Otere Black looks on dur­ing train­ing in Auck­land, New Zealand on July 25, 2020. Photo: Blues

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