Parsons skippers depleted Blues

Date published: May 21 2015

Hooker James Parsons will captain the Blues from a new front row in Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes in Auckland.

Parsons becomes the third All Black to take on the captaincy role this, when he leads an injury-depleted team to meet the table-topping 'Canes at Eden Park.

The North Harbour skipper takes over the leadership riole after injuries to previous captains Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua.

Parsons, called into the All Blacks team during their northern tour late last year, has played strongly this year, appearing in 11 games along with his two weeks off on All Blacks leave.

He forms a new front row with Sam Prattley, receiving his first start of the year in the place of Tony Woodcock, and Ofa Tu’ungafasi, who takes over from Charlie Faumuina.

The backline that performed so well in the win over the Bulls last week remains unchanged with teenager Matt Vaega from the Wider Training Group and fellow North Harbour replacement Nick Mayhew set to make their Super Rugby debuts off the bench.

New Zealand U20s representatives Blake Gibson and the inform Akira Ioane will pair up in the loose forwards, with the outstanding Brendon O’Connor, before the pair joins the New Zealand team that leaves next week to contest the junior World Championships in Italy.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Francis Saili, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Brendon O'Connor, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Nic Mayhew, 19 Will Lloyd/Hayden Triggs, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt Vaega.

Date: Saturday, May 23
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (17:35 AEST, 09:35 SAST, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Aki Aso
TMO: Aaron Paterson