Six All Blacks on reserves bench for Blues

Tana Umaga has repaid his starting XV by retaining them for the crunch New Zealand derby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

The Blues were impressive in their bonus-point victory over the Rebels in Melbourne in round one, and they have been bolstered further by the return of All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Patrick Tuipulotu.

Kaino and Tuipulotu have been named on the bench, with All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi also coming on to the bench alongside Charlie Faumuina.

The presence of George Moala and Rene Ranger on the bench as backs cover means the Blues have six All Blacks primed for impact roles against the Chiefs.

Halfback Billy Guyton is the halfback cover, replacing the injured Sam Nock.

Rieko Ioane created most of the attacking havoc in the 56-18 win over the Rebels, with the 19-year-old scoring a hat-trick of tries, but the decision making of all of Umaga's backs, including halfback Augustine Pulu, was much improved and he will look for more of the same against the Chiefs who beat the Highlanders in round one.

The Blues team to play the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium on Friday, 7.35pm is: Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Piers Francis, Melani Nanai, Ihaia West, Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Jimmy Tupou (c), Sione Mafileo, Matt Moulds, Pauliasi Manu.

Reserves: Hame Faiva, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jerome Kaino, Billy Guyton, George Moala, Rene Ranger.

- NZ Herald

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