Bowden gets the nod for Blues

Date published: March 26 2015

Fly-half Daniel Bowden will make his first appearance for the Blues when John Kirwan's struggling side take on the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

The Blues have lost all five of their matches thus far this season, and head into this weekend's encounter desperate to open their account.

Bowden is one of those charged with inspiring the Auckland outfit, with the former Highlanders and Crusaders number ten returning to Super Rugby after a four-year absence during which time he turned out in Japan and the United Kingdom.

The 28-year-old, who has been sidelined by a heel injury until now, replaces Ihaia West who drops out of the 23.

The Blues are boosted by the return of skipper Jerome Kaino who missed the defeat to the Hurricanes due to a concussion. Kaino's return at number eight sees the back row rejigged, with Steven Luatua moving to six in place of Brendan O'Connor who switches to seven in place of Luke Braid who is named among the replacements.

Second rower Josh Bekhuis is ruled out by injury and his place is taken by Hayden Triggs who slots in at lock alongside Patrick Tuipulotu.

In the backline, Charles Piutau moves from outside centre to full-back at the expense of Lolagi Visinia, with George Moala returning to the fray in the number 13 jersey. 

Centre Pita Ahki and lock Culum Retallick could make their first appearances of the season after being named on the replacements bench.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Pita Ahki.

Date: Saturday, March 28
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (21.40 NZST, 08.40 GMT, 10:40 SAST)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees, Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)