Super Rugby selections: Blues bolstered by returning stars

Publish Date
Friday, 24 May 2024, 10:40AM

Super Rugby Pacific’s new initiative to announce all team lists at 4pm on Wednesday marks the beginning of a new Herald series: Super Rugby Selections.

Each Wednesday, you will find the latest squad news ahead of the weekend’s rugby: who is in, who is out and when all the footy is going ahead.

Chiefs team to face Hurricanes
Continuity is the word of the week for Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan, who has named an unchanged run-on side as they prepare to host the Hurricanes on Friday night.

The only changes in the teams come on the bench, where Tyrone Thompson (hooker) and Sione Ahio (prop) provide cover for the front row, with halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi also joining the pine.

“We have selected a largely unchanged side from our game against the Rebels. Although we made progress in a couple of areas, we were largely underwhelmed by our own performance and continuity of selection gives an opportunity for those involved to make the necessary shifts required,” McMillan said.

Kickoff: Friday 7.05pm at FMG Stadium.

1. Aidan Ross
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
3. George Dyer
4. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
5. Tupou Vaa’i
6. Simon Parker
7. Kaylum Boshier
8. Luke Jacobson (c)
9. Cortez Ratima
10. Damian McKenzie
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Shaun Stevenson


16. Tyrone Thompson
17. Jared Proffit
18. Sione Ahio
19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
20. Wallace Sititi
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
22. Josh Ioane
23. Rameka Poihipi

Hurricanes team to face Chiefs
Jordie Barrett returns to captain the Hurricanes this week as they visit the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday night.

The Hurricanes’ second five-eighths takes over as captain with Brad Shields unavailable for selection as is among a bunch of players returning to the 23 this week.

Xavier Numia (loosehead prop), Isaia Walker-Leawere (lock), T.J. Perenara (halfback), Brett Cameron (first five-eighths), Billy Proctor (centre), Josh Moorby (right wing) Ruben Love (fullback) all return to their regular roles in the starting team. With Shields unavailable, Devan Flanders moves out to the blindside with Brayden Iose starting at No 8, while Peter Lakai replaces Du’Plessis Kirifi (unavailable for selection) at openside.

Tighthead prop Pasilio Tosi also joins the starting side with Tyrel Lomax still out of action, replacing Siale Lauaki in the role.

Kickoff: Friday 7.05pm at FMG Stadium.

1. Xavier Numia
2. Raymond Tuputupu
3. Pasilio Tosi
4. Justin Sangster
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
6. Devan Flanders
7. Peter Lakai
8. Brayden Iose
9. T.J. Perenara
10. Brett Cameron
11. Kini Naholo
12. Jordie Barrett (c)
13. Billy Proctor
14. Josh Moorby
15. Ruben Love


16. James O’Reilly
17. Pouri Rakete-Stones
18. Tevita Mafileo
19. Caleb Delany
20. Te Kamaka (TK) Howden
21. Richard Judd
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen
23. Salesi Rayasi

Moana Pasifika team to face Waratahs
Moana Pasifika have made two changes to their starting XV for their clash against the Waratahs in Auckland on Saturday afternoon.

Halfback Aisea Halo will start in place of Jonathan Taumateine, while Pepesana Patafilo starts at centre in place of Henry Taefu who moves back to the bench.

On the bench, Tomasi Maka and Siaosi Nginingini join the matchday squad.

Kickoff: Saturday 4.35pm at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart.

1. Abraham Pole
2. Samiuela Moli
3. Sione Mafileo
4. Tom Savage
5. Allan Craig
6. Jacob Norris
7. Sione Havili Talitui (c)
8. Lotu Inisi
9. Aisea Halo
10. William Havili
11. Neria Fomai
12. Julian Savea
13. Pepesana Patafilo
14. Fine Inisi
15. Danny Toala


16. Tomasi Maka
17. Tevita Langi
18. Sekope Kepu
19. Ola Tauelangi
20. Alamanda Motuga
21. Siaosi Nginingini
22. Christian Leali’ifano
23. Henry Taefu

Crusaders team to face Blues
A trio of All Blacks will return for the Crusaders’ clash against the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday night in their penultimate home game of the season.

Ethan Blackadder (openside flanker), Tamaiti Williams (bench prop) and Dallas McLeod (bench backline cover) will all suit up for the local derby, with Levi Aumua (centre) also returning to the squad after missing last week’s loss to the Brumbies.

Blackadder’s return sees Tom Christie return to a bench role, while Codie Taylor retains the captaincy in Scott Barrett’s absence.

Kickoff: Saturday 7.05pm at Orangetheory Stadium

1. Joe Moody
2. Codie Taylor (c)
3. Fletcher Newell
4. Antonio Shalfoon
5. Quinten Strange
6. Cullen Grace
7. Ethan Blackadder
8. Christian Lio-Willie
9. Noah Hotham
10. Fergus Burke
11. Sevu Reece
12. David Havili
13. Levi Aumua
14. Chay Fihaki
15. Johnny McNicholl


16. George Bell
17. George Bower
18. Tamaiti Williams
19. Jamie Hannah
20. Tom Christie
21. Mitchell Drummond
22. Taha Kemara
23. Dallas McLeod

Blues team to face Crusaders
After a false start last week, Stephen Perofeta is again tipped to make his return from a shoulder injury in the Blues clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

He will make his return at fullback as Harry Plummer retains the No 10 jersey, Rieko Ioane (concussion) returns at centre, Patrick Tuipulotu (workload management) returns at lock, and Mark Tele’a (workload management) returns on the right wing.

Vern Cotter has also reworked his loose forward trio this week, opting for a starting combination of Akira Ioane, Adrian Choat and Hoskins Sotutu with Cameron Suafoa coming off the bench.

Lucas Cashmore (hamstring), Finlay Christie (groin), Caleb Clarke (managing workload), Meihana Grindlay (finger), Bryce Heem (calf), Jordan Lay (ankle, season), Marcel Renata (calf), Zarn Sullivan (knee), Dalton Papali’i (managing workload) and Laghlan McWhannell (concussion protocol) were all unavailable for selection.

Kickoff: Saturday 7.05pm at Orangetheory Stadium.

1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
2. Kurt Eklund
3. Angus Ta’avao
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (c)
5. Sam Darry
6. Akira Ioane
7. Adrian Choat
8. Hoskins Sotutu
9. Taufa Funaki
10. Harry Plummer
11. A.J. Lam
12. Corey Evans
13. Rieko Ioane
14. Mark Tele’a
15. Stephen Perofeta


16. Ricky Riccitelli
17. Joshua Fusitu’a
18. P.J. Sheck
19. Josh Beehre
20. Cameron Suafoa
21. Sam Nock
22. Cole Forbes
23. Caleb Tangitau

Highlanders team to face Fijian Drua
The Highlanders will be bolstered by the return of seasoned campaigners Billy Harmon and Jona Nareki as they prepare to host the Fijian Drua in Dunedin on Sunday afternoon.

Harmon returns to start at No 8, with Nareki on the left wing, while Ajay Faleafaga starts at first five-eighths with Cam Millar ruled out. In the midfield, Sam Gilbert will cover for the injured Tanielu Tele’a, who sustained a knee injury in last week’s match against the Blues, while Jake Te Hiwi shifts to centre.

Connor Garden-Bachop, Matt Whaanga, Daniel Lienert-Brown, and Max Hicks all join the bench, while Nikora Broughton shifts to the pine with Harmon returning.

Kickoff: Sunday 2.05pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium

1. Ethan de Groot (co-captain)
2. Henry Bell
3. Jermaine Ainsley
4. Mitch Dunshea
5. Fabian Holland
6. Oliver Haig
7. Sean Withy
8. Billy Harmon (co-captain)
9. Folau Fakatava
10. Ajay Faleafaga
11. Jona Nareki
12. Sam Gilbert
13. Jake Te Hiwi
14. Timoci Tavatavanawai
15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens


16. Jack Taylor
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Saula Ma’u
19. Max Hicks
20. Nikora Broughton
21. James Arscott
22. Matt Whaanga
23. Connor Garden-Bachop

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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