Blues name Hobbs at first five-eighth

Getty Images     03 May 2012     Getty Images

The Wellington first five-eighths has been promoted from the bench to take on many of his provincial teammates in one of just three changes to the starting XV.

Rising star Gareth Anscombe has been dropped from the 22 altogether following a mixed performance against the Reds last week, with Lachie Munro set to provide cover on the bench.

"10 is quite an important general and this is part of Gareth's learning experience," Lam said.

"He’s 20-years-old and Tyler Bleyendaal is going through the same thing at the Crusaders. It’s a big thing to come through and run the game. It's a constant learning and I think that's one of the areas he is working on and I think this experience will hold him in good stead.

"Michael has been through quite a big transition and grieving process and he's coming out of that. He's been working hard at training, contributing, supporting Gareth and supporting others and he deserves his chance."

Lam has reshuffled his backline, with Benson Stanley returning to centre as Rene Ranger shifts out to the wing in place of Rudi Wulf who has failed to overcome an injured shoulder.

In the forwards, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock have also been unable to shrug off their calf injuries as Tevita Mailau and Tom McCartney remain in the starting XV.

Captain Luke Braid shifts from blindside to openside flanker, with Chris Lowrey starting at blindside in place of Daniel Braid.

Unavailable due to injury: Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Isaia Toeava, Anthony Boric, Tony Woodcock, Rudi Wulf, Brad Mika

Blues: Hadleigh Parkes, Rene Ranger, Benson Stanley, Ma'a Nonu, George Moala, Michael Hobbs, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid (capt), Chris Lowrey, Ali Williams, Filo Paulo, Charlie Faumuina, Tom McCartney, Tevita Mailau: Reserves: James Parsons, Angus Ta'avao, Liaki Moli, Daniel Braid, Alby Mathewson, Lachie Munro, David Raikuna.