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Blues anticipate 'epic' contest with team named to visit unbeaten Chiefs

By Kim Ekin
Beauden Barrett leads the Blues. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Blues talisman lock, Patrick Tuipulotu, returns to the 23 this weekend along with a host of All Black talent as the Blues travel down State Highway One to face the table-topping Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday night.

Tuipulotu has been on the sidelines since he injured his knee in Round Three against the Hurricanes and Blues Head Coach, Leon MacDonald, said it’s great to have his size and leadership back in blue.

 “He brings an edge, an experienced player who can shift bodies and hit hard. We’re very happy to have him back on the bench for this weekend’s match,” said MacDonald.

Fans can expect to see All Black matchups across the park, with mouth-watering head-to-heads likely in the back row, at first-five and in the midfield with a chance for players to push their case for national selection.

“A few boys stood up last week and took their chance against the Force. We welcome a lot of our core group back to the fold for the Chiefs and know we have a hard task on our hands come Saturday night.”

The Blues have had the wood over the Chiefs in recent years, winning five of their last six Super Rugby games against their neighbours. However, the Chiefs are on a five-game winning streak in 2023 and currently sit atop the Super Rugby Pacific table.

Blues Captain Dalton Papalii is eager to get on the bus to Hamilton after a week away from rugby.

“Nothing beats the Battle of the Bombays! We’ve had some epic matches over the years and I’m sure this will be no different. Bragging rights are on the line,” said Papalii.

“The Chiefs have been the form side so far this season, they’re unbeaten and playing some good code, but there’s a focus and intensity to what we’ve been doing this week, we’re ready to head down the road and take the game to them.

Saturday’s match promises to be a free-flowing match with the Chiefs and Blues sitting first and second respectively in the ‘defenders beaten’ stat line this season. The Chiefs have beaten 31 defenders per game with the Blues beating 30 defenders, sitting just one behind.

Papalii expects more of the same at FMG Stadium on Saturday night.

“You can’t go into a big game and stop playing, we’ve been building nicely over recent weeks and the boys are pumped to put on a show this weekend,” said Papalii.



1. Jordan Lay

2. Ricky Riccitelli

3. Nepo Laulala

4. Cameron Suafoa

5. Sam Darry

6. Anton Segner

7. Dalton Papalii (c)

8. Hoskins Sotutu

9. Finlay Christie

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Caleb Clarke

12. Harry Plummer

13. Rieko Ioane

14. AJ Lam

15. Stephen Perofeta


16. Kurt Eklund

17. Ofa Tuungafasi

18. James Lay

19. Patrick Tuipulotu

20. Tom Robinson

21. Sam Nock

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22. Corey Evans

23. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Via Press Release/Blues



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