Injuries force Blues changes for Waratahs

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Both sides were first round losers, the Blues to the Chiefs and the Waratahs to the Crusaders.


Out for the Blues as a result of injuries suffered in the first game are wing Rieko Ioane (hand), flanker Tony Lamborn (infection), prop Alex Hodgman (calf) and hooker Ray Nuia (knee).


Northland wing Jordan Hyland will start in Ioane's place, Blake Gibson will start on the flank while Karl Tu'inukuafe (pictured) will start at prop.


Hooker James Parsons will come off the bench having recovered from an off-season injury while Tom Robinson makes way for Josh Goodhue start at lock alongside captain Patrick Tuipulotu.


Still not ready to be considered are: Otere Black (rib), Finlay Christie (neck), Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (shoulder), Jared Page (hamstring), Tanielu Tele'a (shoulder), James Tucker (knee).


Coach Leon MacDonald said injuries were part and parcel of the competition but they gave opportunities so early in the season to others who had been putting in the work at training.


MacDonald said some of the play and intent during the first half of their game with the Chiefs and at times in the second half had been outstanding.


"We managed to get good fast ball, we executed some strikes really well and I thought our defensive line got up and created lots of pressure," he said.


What let the side down had been some momentum swings they hadn't managed as well as they would have liked.


"That's what we dug into in the review and looking at solutions at how we control those better and why they won there and we were unable to. So we've got a bit of a plan in place around that and that's exciting," he said.


They were looking at the insertion of more excitement from those players not called upon during the first week and that was encouraging because it brought another level of energy.


"So we've got a good squad, we're confident in all our squad so we've got no doubt they can step up," he said.


"The pack will be the cornerstone and we will look to provide the platform for our backs to show their skills against what will be a very good Waratahs team," he said.


Playing at Newcastle would be a new experience that would to the desire to put in a better performance, MacDonald said.


The Blues side is: 1.Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2.Kurt Eklund, 3.Sione Mafileo, 4.Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 5.Josh Goodhue, 6.Dalton Papalii, 7.Blake Gibson, 8.Hoskins Sotutu, 9.Jonathan Ruru, 10.Stephen Perofeta, 11.Mark Telea, 12.TJ Faiane, 13.Joe Marchant, 14.Jordan Hyland, 15.Matt Duffie.


Substitutes: 16.James Parsons, 17.Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18.Ofa Tuungafasi, 19.Tom Robinson, 20.Akira Ioane, 21.Sam Nock, 22.Harry Plummer, 23.Emoni Narawa.


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