All the action as the Blues took on the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

There will be more scrutiny than ever on the Blues in Tokyo on Saturday as they attempt to do something they couldn't last year and beat the Sunwolves for only their second win of the season.

If it all goes terribly wrong again, there will be scrutiny too on coach Tana Umaga's decision to select Rieko Ioane – a player he sees as the best wing in the world - in the No12 jersey.

Umaga's hand has been forced to a large extent, but questions remain. Sonny Bill Williams is the incumbent second-five but has missed the last two matches with a hand injury, and such is the injury toll among the Blues' backline that two players are making their debuts – centre Orbyn Leger and right wing Jordan Hyland.


Leger is a former New Zealand under-20s representative and can play No10, No12 or fullback, so is being played slightly out of position at centre, as is Ioane at second-five.

With Umaga appearing to lose patience with TJ Faiane, who is on the bench after starting at No12 against the Chiefs, a more orthodox selection would be to name Leger at No12 and Ioane at No13.

"With George Moala out, we have adjusted our backline," Umaga said. "Orbyn has trained with us all season and has impressed us with his attitude and his skillset. He deserves his chance.

"Jordan is a big and fast winger. If we can do our work up front then we want to utilise his strength and speed to get us going forward."

It appears that Umaga has had a change of heart in terms of the best position for Ioane, still only 21, and the most talented player in his team.

At the start of the season Umaga said he felt Ioane's best position was on the wing where he could use his express pace and finishing power to the fullest in the outside channels.

Ioane has always wanted to play in the midfield, but has looked better at centre than at second-five, where he finds himself for the second time this season.

It is believed Umaga thinks that Ioane can easily make the switch between the Blues' midfield and the wing for the All Blacks, and there is no doubt the Blues look a better team when he has the ball in his hands, but, again, there are few better in the game than Ioane at beating players on the outside and it would be a waste of his talents to see him resorting to a crash-and-bash type game due to the heavy traffic he is running in.


In Ioane's favour is the fact that the Sunwolves are unlikely to bring the defensive line speed pressure of the New Zealand teams but the margins for error at this level are small and the Japanese team's Kiwi coach Jamie Joseph will know exactly where to target the Blues.

It is one more intriguing element to a match the Blues cannot afford to lose.