The Blues have suffered a major injury blow with All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino facing six weeks on the sideline.

Kaino will undergo knee surgery on a meniscus tear this week and will be out of action for four to six weeks, Blues assistant coach Steve Jackson said today.

That could see Kaino miss all the Blues' Super Rugby action before the break for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

The Blues encounter against the Lions on June 7 could possibly be is final chance to get on the field before the first test against the Lions on June 24.


Akira Ioane replaces Kaino in the Blues starting side to face the Brumbies in Canberra.

It will be Ioane's third start of the season as the Blues take on the Australian Conference leaders on Sunday.

Coach Tana Umaga said while the loss of Kaino is a blow for the team, it presents an opportunity for gifted Ioane, who has played in all eight games this season mostly off the bench.

It is the only change in the pack from the last game against the Hurricanes before the bye, with All Black Steven Luatua moving to his preferred blindside flanker role, and Ioane taking over at No 8.

The Blues team is:

1 Pauliasi Manu, 2 James Parsons (C), 3 Charlie Faumuina, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5 Scott Scrafton, 6 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 8 Akira Ioane; 9 Augustine Pulu, 10 Piers Francis, 11 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 13. George Moala, 14 Matt Duffie, 15 Michael Collins.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Leighton Price, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Melani Nanai.

Unavailable due to injury: Rene Ranger (ankle), Stephen Perofeta (ankle), Jordon Trainor (shin), Brandon Nansen (wrist/hand), Jerome Kaino (knee), Ihaia West (ankle), Declan O'Donnell (concussion), Patrick Tuipulotu (back), Josh Goodhue (hamstring), Alex Hodgman (calf), Sam Prattley (knee).