Blues: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman. Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie.
Black mark: Chiefs start Cruden at 10 to counter new Blues star
Chiefs coach Warren Gatland has called on Aaron Cruden to counter rising star Otere Black in their Super Rugby Aotearoa against the Blues on Saturday.
Black outshone teammate and New Zealand superstar Beauden Barrett, on his debut for the side, in their 30-20 win over the Hurricanes last weekend.
The 15 points scored by the 25-year-old made him a marked man by opponents, even more so with him pushing Barrett to 15 and keeping Dan Carter out of the side.
Opposite him in the first match of the weekend will be a man with a point to prove.
Cruden played off the bench in the Chiefs’ narrow 28-27 defeat to the Highlanders last weekend.
But coach Warren Gatland is backing the experienced 31-year-old has to outplay his younger opponent.
Gatland says ahead of the clash: “Last week against the Highlanders we weren’t clinical enough and they capitalised. This week we need to be sharper and deliver a more dominant performance.The Blues have some great playmakers and will be a dangerous team. They performed well last week against the Hurricanes and will be hoping to back it up again.”
CHIEFS V BLUES, TOMORROW 9.05AM: