21 May 2015

Parsons to lead Blues against Hurricanes

4:04 pm on 21 May 2015

The All Blacks hooker James Parsons becomes the third captain for the Blues this season after being named to lead the side in Saturday night's Super Rugby game against the Hurricanes at Eden Park.

Blues hooker James Parsons

Blues hooker James Parsons Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Parsons takes over the captaincy after injuries to previous skippers Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua.

There is a new front row with prop Sam Prattley making his first start of the season, along with Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who will play his 27th game for the Blues.

New Zealand Under-20 representatives Blake Gibson and Akira Ioane start in the loose forwards, before the pair join up with the national team that heads to Italy next week for the Under-20 World Cup.

Ihaia West plays his 20th game for the Blues, and will receive his blazer as recognition. He needs four points for 100 points for the season, currently on 96 from 11 games.

The Blues injury list is at 13, with four of those ruled out for the rest of the season.

Joining captain Kaino and Luke Braid on the long term injured list are All Blacks Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu.

Luatua, the stand-in captain for Kaino, dislocated his shoulder in the win over the South African side the Bulls last week and won't return for the Blues final three games.

Tuipulotu has a long term hip injury that has worsened and he, too, is unlikely to make it back in the next four weeks.

Also unavailable this week's match against the Hurricanes in Auckland is All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock with a shoulder injury and Charlie Faumuina, who is on All Blacks leave.

Others not considered for this week's match include Pita Ahki (hamstring), Dan Bowden (groin) and Bryn Hall (foot).

The Blues are 13th on the table.

Blues:

1 Sam Prattley

2 James Parsons (captain)

3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi

4 Culum Retallick

5 Josh Bekhuis

6 Brendon O'Connor

7 Blake Gibson

8 Akira Ioane

9 Jamison Gibson-Park

10 Ihaia West

11 Melani Nanai

12 George Moala

13 Francis Saili

14 Ben Lam

15 Lolagi Visinia

Reserves:

16 Keven Mealamu

17 Angus Ta'avao

18 Nick Mayhew

19 Will Lloyd/Hayden Triggs

20 Joe Edwards

21 Jimmy Cowan

22 Simon Hickey

23 Matt Vaega

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