Beauden Barrett is expected to make his Blues debut from fullback against the Hurricanes at Eden Park on Sunday.
Starting Barrett at fullback, rather than first five-eighth where he has played the majority of his career, would be something of a surprise move given the Blues signed the All Blacks playmaker with a view to him filling their long-term void at No 10.
Otere Black did, however, guide the Blues superbly from first receiver to five wins from seven games before the coronavirus-induced shutdown.
During that run earlier this year Black and Stephen Perofeta, who shifted to fullback, developed a sharp combination which allowed the Blues to harness the now in-flavour dual playmakers.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Perofeta fractured his foot in training last week, ruling him out for the season. His absence opened the door for the Blues to sign Dan Carter as an injury replacement, though the All Blacks centurion is not available for at least the first two matches while he undergoes conditioning work.
Without Perofeta, the Blues are light on fullback options with former Melbourne Storm wing Matt Duffie probably next in line.
In order to minimise disruption to his side and retain the same dual playmaker structure, Blues coach Leon MacDonald appears keen on retaining Black at first-five and starting Barrett at fullback to open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign against the Hurricanes in front of a crowd of over 35,000.
Barrett has started 43 tests for the All Blacks at first-five but played all six matches at last year's World Cup from fullback, with Richie Mo'unga claiming the 10 jersey.
Barrett's last match came in the World Cup victory over Wales in the third place playoff, almost eight months ago in Japan.
The 29-year-old has since produced personal best fitness tests while training with team the past three weeks.