33-Test All Black Sony Bill Williams will start at inside centre for the Blues in Saturday’s clash with the Hurrcianes at Eden Park.
Williams’ selection is the only change to the starting line-up from last week’s match against the Highlanders.
The All Black front row of Pauliasi Manu, skipper James Parsons and Charlie Faumuina are backed by promising young locks Scott Scrafton and Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, who has played in all seven games this year and scored his first Super Rugby try against the Highlanders last weekend.
Steven Luatua is retained at number eight after his outstanding 80-minute contribution last week after returning from suspension, and joins fellow All Black star Jerome Kaino and Blake Gibson in the loose forwards.
Williams will make his first start for the Blues in the number 12 jersey with Rieko Ioane at ouside centre, which means All Black George Moala will come off the bench.
Another All Black to provide impact off the bench is prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi, and if he plays, he will move to within one game of his 50th cap for the Blues.
Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 George Moala
Date: Saturday, April 15
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Referees: Jamie Nutbrown, Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen