The Blues midfield will likely be targeted by the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday after Rieko Ioane and Michael Collins, who struggled as a defensive combination against the Hurricanes, retained their positions for their team's final match of the season.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said after his team's 42-24 victory in Wellington last weekend that he was not displeased to see All Blacks wing Ioane named in the No12 jersey for the Blues, and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson could have a similar view.
Ngani Laumape tore through the heart of the Blues midfield on his way to scoring four tries at Westpac Stadium, but the added difficulty for Blues coach Tana Umaga is that he has few others in his team capable of doing the job. George Moala was ruled out for the season months ago due to a chest injury and Sonny Bill Williams has a shoulder issue.
It will be loose forward Jerome Kaino's 139th and final match for the Blues. The only change from last week is a start for lock Ben Nee-Nee after an injury to replacement Matiaha Martin ruled him out.
"This game means a lot. We want to send Jerome off in the best possible fashion," said Umaga. "We are going into a cauldron in Christchurch, but we have to go with eyes wide open and also take confidence from the game last week.
"We've worked on the areas that were pretty obvious in terms of our defence but there will be no lack of motivation to play against the Crusaders.
"Our forward effort was good last week but we know it needs to go another notch.
"For us we have to do well on both sides of the ball. We had some individual lapses in defence and that's something we've worked on."
There is little on this match for the defending champion Crusaders, who are on an 11-match winning streak. They are guaranteed a home final should they progress that far but will want to retain the ruthless edge that saw them trounce the Highlanders 45-22 last weekend.
The Blues team to play the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm is:
15. Matt Duffie, 14. Melani Nanai, 13. Michael Collins, 12. Rieko Ioane, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 9. Augustine Pulu ©; 8. Akira Ioane, 7. Blake Gibson, 6. Jerome Kaino, 5. Ben Nee-Nee, 4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 2. Matt Moulds, 1. Alex Hodgman
Reserves: 16. Ross Wright, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Jacob Pierce, 20. Murphy Taramai, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. Tamati Tua.