Internationals return to bolster Blues against Hurricanes

Jerome Kaino of the All Blacks chases down a ball against Luke Charteris of Wales during an International Test match. Photo / Getty
Jerome Kaino of the All Blacks chases down a ball against Luke Charteris of Wales during an International Test match. Photo / Getty

Internationals Jerome Kaino, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Male Sa'u return to the Blues line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Kaino, Tu'ungafasi and Tuipulotu were involved with the All Blacks series against Wales and Sa'u played for Japan against Scotland.

They will be welcome additions to the Blues, who have lost All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and George Moala to injury.

There's a relatively settled look to the side with a forward pack built around five current or former All Blacks, with the backs built around the core inside trio of Bryn Hall, Ihaia West and Piers Francis.

Sa'u, who played on the wing for Japan in their international series at home, will return to his usual role of centre for the injured Moala.

There is a welcome return of loose forward Blake Gibson to the reserves after missing six games after surgery to his thumb.

The potential debutant is young North Harbour lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, bracketed with Hoani Matenga, who is ill.

It is the final New Zealand derby match for the Blues who will complete their regular season with homes games against the Brumbies (Friday 8 July) and the Waratahs (Friday 15 July), both at Eden Park.

Blues team to play the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday (7.35pm): Sam Prattley, James Parsons (c), Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Jerome Kaino, Kara Pryor, Steven Luatua; Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Tevita Li, Piers Francis, Male S'au, Matt Duffie, Melani Nanai.

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti or Hoani Matenga, Blake Gibson, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Matt Vaega or Lolagi Visinia.

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