The Blues have named an extended 36-strong squad to meet the Chiefs in their first pre-season match at Te Kuiti this afternoon.
The Super Rugby neighbours are regular combatants in pre-season although it is the first time the two sides have ventured to Te Kuiti, as a mark of respect for the great Sir Colin Meads who passed away last year.
There are a number of newcomers in the starting side including North Harbour players Mike Tamoaieta and Glenn Preston in the forwards and replacements Ross Wright and Jacob Pierce with All Black Akira Ioane starting at No 8.
Sam Nock and Bryn Gatland start in the halves with replacements Tumua Manu, Tamati Tua and Jordan Hyland to start along with Jordan Trainor at fullback.
Prop Alex Hodgman is the starting captain, with Jimmy Tupou assuming the role in the third of the four 20-minute spells and season captain Augustine Pulu for the final stanza.
While there are a number of players not considered because of injuries, Coach Tana Umaga intends to give his available players some game time.
“Our All Blacks are only just back with us and have not been considered and we do have a number with a range of injuries. But for the rest, they have been working really hard and just want to get out and finally play some footie.
“This game is more about giving them a run, see how they handle Super Rugby intensity even in pre-season, and trying some different combinations.”
The game begins at 4pm.
The Blues starting line-up for the first 20 minute period is:
1 Alex Hodgman (captain), 2 Ross Wright, 3 Mike Tamoaieta, 4 Josh Goodhue, 5 Jacob Pierce, 6 Glenn Preston, 7 Murphy Taramai, 8 Akira Ioane; 9 Sam Nock, 10 Bryn Gatland, 11 Tumua Manu, 12 TJ Faiane, 13 Tamati Tua, 14 Jordan Hyland, 15 Jordan Trainor.
Forwards: Pauliasi Manu, Kurt Ekland, Marcel Renata, Jimmy Tupou, Waimana Reidling, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii, Antonia Kiri Kiri, Jordan Olsen, Jack Straker, Gerard Cowley Tuioiti, Sione Havili.
Backs: Jonathon Ruru, George Moala, Melani Nanai, Stephen Perofeta, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Orbyn Leger, Augustine Pulu, Harry Plummer, Tanielu Telea.