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‘Our destiny’s in our hands’: No Beauden Barrett in Blues’ team to play Hurricanes

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Playmaker Beauden Barrett will miss the Blues’ crunch clash with the Hurricanes at Eden Park on Saturday due to the All Blacks’ mandatory resting policy.

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Barrett has been replaced by experienced campaigner Harry Plummer in the No. 10 shirt, while Bryce Heem shifts to inside centre.

The Blues are currently fourth on the Super Rugby Pacific standings, and will look vying for a home quarterfinal when they host the fifth-placed Hurricanes.

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There’s plenty to play for this weekend.

In the last 39 meetings between the two proud Super Rugby franchises, the teams are split at 19 wins each – and one draw.

Props Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Nepo Laulala come into the starting side as the only two changes to the forward pack. They’ll pack down in the front row alongside former Hurricane Ricky Riccitelli.

Patrick Tuipulotu will captain the side again this week in the absence of Dalton Papali’i. The skipper will combine with Cameron Suafoa in the second row.

Akira Ioane, Adrian Choat and Hoskins Sotutu make up the loose forward trio this weekend.

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As for the backline, All Blacks Finlay Christie, Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane are set to return for the Blues this weekend.

“These weeks are what rugby is all about,” coach Leon MacDonald said in a statement. “As a team you’re preparing for a tough, uncompromising battle in the knowledge it’s likely to be small margins and moments determining the outcome on Saturday.

“Our focus is on stacking good performance together.

“I thought we created space and time really well against the Reds and want more of the same taking on the Hurricanes.

“Our destiny’s in our hands and we need to push hard in this final phase of the round robin.”

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Captain Patrick Tuipulotu said that the Blues are eager to “defend” their “fortress” with “honour’ this weekend.

“Eden Park’s our home, our fortress and it’s up to us to defend it with honour,” he said.

“Look at the table, one point separates us and we’re both gunning for a home quarter-final spot.

“We love it when the fans turn up in numbers and we’re hoping for a bumper crowd on Saturday night.”

The match is set to get underway at 7.05pm NZST at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.

Blues team to take on Hurricanes

  1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
  2. Ricky Riccitelli
  3. Nepo Laulala
  4. Patrick Tuipulotu (c)
  5. Cameron Suafoa
  6. Akira Ioane
  7. Adrian Choat
  8. Hoskins Sotutu
  9. Finlay Christie
  10. Harry Plummer
  11. Caleb Clarke
  12. Bryce Heem
  13. Rieko Ioane
  14. Mark Telea
  15. Zarn Sullivan

Replacements:

  1. Kurt Eklund
  2. Jordan Lay
  3. Marcel Renata
  4. James Tucker
  5. Anton Segner
  6. Sam Nock
  7. Stephen Perofeta
  8. AJ Lam/Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Players not considered: Beauden Barrett, Sam Darry, Alex Hodgman, Dalton Papali’i, Tanielu Telea

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