Benji Marshall on bench, Hickey starts for Blues

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 11:30 20/03/2014
Simon Hickey and Benji Marshall
Getty Images

IN AND OUT: Simon Hickey (left) will start at No 10 for the Blues, while Benji Marshall has lost his spot in the starting lineup at fullback, dropping to the bench.

Related Links

All Blacks Nonu, Kaino on the Blues bench Ref: We got it wrong twice against the Blues Reinforcements set to boost blundering Blues Coach questions TMO decision in Blues loss 2014 Blues season

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Cult hero Adam Thomson returns to face Highlanders in Reds jersey Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu feeling pressure to perform against Crusaders All Blacks prop Wyatt Crockett keen to keep his Kiwi connection Hurricanes focused on avoiding favourites' fate against Western Force Chiefs ring the changes for New Zealand Conference derby with the Crusaders Dan Carter and Israel Dagg left out of Crusaders squad to face Chiefs in Hamilton Marty Banks to make his Highlanders debut at first-five against the Reds Pressure on for winless Blues as Jerome Kaino reaches milestone Blues to face speed out wide from the Cheetahs Queensland Crime Commission interviews footballers over drug scandal

Sir John Kirwan has made good on the pledge to select his best line-up, dropping Benji Marshall to the bench and reinstating Simon Hickey at first five-eighth for tomorrow's clash with the Cheetahs at Eden Park.

Despite a solid showing in his first start at fullback last week, Marshall has made way for All Blacks utility Charles Piutau, who switches from the left wing to his preferred role at the back.

Piutau has been the Blues' most potent player this year. Kirwan is clearly keen to utilise his abilities, rather than see fleeting moments of attacking brilliance. Tevita Li has made a swift recovery from a hand injury to take his place on the left wing.  

It also appears Kirwan has, finally, settled on Hickey at 10.

The rookie's recall is the fourth change at pivot in five matches and hopefully spells an end to the trial-like process the Blues had adopted thus far. Hickey's promotion sees Chris Noakes left out of the squad.

No 8 Peter Saili returns to the back of the scrum and a leg injury to lock Patrick Tuipulotu paves the way for Hayden Triggs to make his debut for a fourth New Zealand Super Rugby team, off the pine.   

Kirwan has resisted the urge to give halfback Bryn Hall a start ahead of Piri Weepu. Hall's cameo off the bench in Johannesburg last week was a major factor in the Blues' near-miraculous comeback.  

As expected, star recruits Jerome Kaino and Ma'a Nonu will play their first match of the year from the bench.

BLUES: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, George Moala, Jackson Willison, Tevita Li, Simon Hickey, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid (c), Steven Luatua, Tom Donnelly, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi,  Jerome Kaino, Hayden Triggs, Bryn Hall, Ma'a Nonu, Benji Marshall

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?

Blues

Chiefs

Crusaders

Highlanders

Hurricanes

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content