All the action between the Blues and Waratahs in their Super Rugby clash at Eden Park.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald has again rolled the dice on Rieko Ioane continuing his incredible try-scoring form by selecting him on the left wing to face the Waratahs at Eden Park on Saturday.
The All Blacks No11 is due to sit out a week because of the World Cup rest protocol agreed late last year, but his appearance at training earlier in the week meant he was a definite starter – those rested are supposed to get away from the game altogether – as MacDonald takes a punt on him again providing the impetus for another victory. The Blues are chasing their fourth win in succession.
The gambling analogies are apt because MacDonald himself admitted today that there were risks associated with not selecting him. The head coach also suggested it was a "dilemma".
"We had a rough idea of how we were going to cut that up but … this is an important game for us and he's probably in his best try-scoring form [of his career]," MacDonald said of the 22-year-old, who has seven tries in three matches.
"It's important we keep riding the momentum with Rieko and keeping him playing. He's energetic and feeling good and enjoying his rugby at the moment."
No top All Blacks are supposed to play more than six matches in succession, although their game count reverts back to zero in the case of a bye, which the Blues had in round four. They are also supposed to have two games off a season, not counting the two byes.
After this weekend the Blues face the Chiefs in Hamilton and Highlanders in Dunedin, two key derby games that MacDonald will presumably want Ioane to be available for, and then a bye in round 11 before a run of seven games to finish the round robin.
MacDonald, who said last week that Ioane was due for break this weekend, added of his juggling act: "What is the right time? It's probably pretty easy to get that one wrong but we'll have to work that out as we go.
"We have the luxury with the draw and byes to play with that a little bit so we'll use that to our advantage."