Rugby: Charlie Faumuina returns for Blues

Coach Tana Umaga has made just one change to his starting line-up for the Blues' Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Auckland on Saturday.

All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina is expected to return from a leg injury, but will be assessed following Thursday's training and has been bracketed with North Harbour's Sione Mafileo.

The rest of the starting team is unchanged from the one that started in last week's 33-24 loss to the Crusaders.

Umaga said while the Blues had let a winning lead slip late in the game, there were plenty of positives last week.

Tana Umaga talks to Radio Sport after naming his side to face the Bulls

"We wanted clear progress from the week before in terms of our lineout and our error rate. We got that," he said.

"The lineout was excellent, we had a stable platform, and we had much less handling mistakes."

As a result, he said the Blues were strong in the first half with three excellent tries. Umaga was pleased overall with his team's defensive effort, but said they struggled in the second half to combat the Crusaders' rolling maul.

Listen: Out of the Box Rugby Podcast

"We did not help ourselves with a number of penalties which allowed the Crusaders to be a constant threat inside our red zone"

Flanker Blake Gibson will play his 18th game for the Blues while All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi will again make his impact off the bench on Saturday.

Blues: Michael Colllins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, George Moala, Melani Nanai, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu, Jerome Kaino, Blake Gibson, Jimmy Tupou, Patrick Tuipulotu, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charlie Faumuina/Sione Mafileo, James Parsons (captain), Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Matt Moulds, Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Sam Prattley, Sione Mafileo /Tu'ungafasi, Akira Ioane, Murphy Taramai, Sam Nock, Ihaia West, TJ Faiane.

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