16 Apr 2015

Blues rest Luatua for Highlanders clash

1:22 pm on 16 April 2015

Fresh off the back of their first win of the season, the Blues are facing a minor injury crisis ahead of their Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders on Saturday.

The pressure only keeps increasing on Blues coach Sir John Kirwan

The pressure only keeps increasing on Blues coach Sir John Kirwan Photo: Photosport

The concussion issue has again reared its head with Luke Braid expected to be sidelined for a week.

The flanker suffered the injury during the side's 16-14 victory over the Brumbies at Eden Park last weekend.

Halfback Bryn Hall will be out a further five weeks with a foot injury, while Tony Woodcock, Melani Nanai and George Moala have all been bracketed and will be further assessed by Friday morning.

All Black Steven Luatua has been rested by coach Sir John Kirwan, giving former NZ Sevens loose forward Akira Ioane the chance to debut.

NZ U20 player Blake Gibson comes out of the reserves to fill the squad.

Jimmy Cowan returns to team after birth of his second child.

The team to face the Highlanders:

1. Ofa Tu'ungafasi

2. James Parsons

3. Angus Ta'avao

4. Josh Bekhuis

5. Patrick Tuipulotu

6. Akira Ioane

7. Brendon O'Connor

8. Jerome Kaino (C)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park

10. Dan Bowden

11. Melani Nanai

12. George Moala

13. Pita Ahki

14. Frank Halai

15. Charles Piutau

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu

17. Tony Woodcock

18. Charlie Faumuina

19. Hayden Triggs

20. Blake Gibson

21. Jimmy Cowan

22. Ihaia West

23. Francis Saili

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.