Akira Ioane to start for Blues against Chiefs

Otere Black impressed in Blues' win over Hurricanes
Otere Black impressed in Blues' win over Hurricanes

Akira Ioane will make his debut in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition after he was named in the starting line-up for the second round clash against Chiefs in Hamilton.

Akira has been positioned at blindside flanker and will have Dalton Papalii at openside after Tom Robinson and Blake Gibson are unavailable due to injuries.

Beauden Barrett will continue to remain at fullback with Otere Black retained at fly-half after his impressive performance against Hurricanes in the opening game. Papalii's place on the bench has been taken by Tony Lamborn.

“We know that last week was a good start but that we will need to get better if we want a positive result against the Chiefs,” said head coach Dan MacDonald.

“The players who took the field will be better for that experience, especially understanding the importance of discipline at the breakdown and getting back into competition after so long off.

“We know that depth will be really important in this competition and we are fortunate to have the likes of Dalton and Akira to come into the starting line-up. Parts of our play were good last week but we must lift to another level against what we know is a very good and very physical Chiefs side as well as a healthy rivalry with our neighbours.”

Blues: Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, Caleb Clarke, Otere Black, Sam Nock, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali'i, Akira Ioane, Josh Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman.

Replacemements: Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Matt Duffie

Super Rugby 2019 Points Table