The All Black Piri Weepu won't start at first five for Blues in their opening Super Rugby match against the Crusaders on Friday night.
Coach Pat Lam has picked Michael Hobbs for the role with Alby Matthewson starting at halfback and Weepu named in the reserves.
Lam says Weepu's time off following the World Cup means he isn't fit enough yet for 80 minutes of Super Rugby.
The Blues will also welcome back winger Rudi Wulf for the Eden Park clash, with the side to be captained by All Black hooker Keven Mealamu.
Wulf is joined by fellow North Harbour speedster David Raikuna, who will make his debut on the right wing.