The Blues Development team has been named for tomorrow’s match against the New Zealand Under 20 team, their first of two games over the next four days.
The team travel to Tauranga tomorrow for a 2pm kick-off at Blake Park.
Coach Steve Jackson said extra players were brought into the squad this week to help cover the quick turnaround in matches.
“We’ve selected players from club rugby through form.
“They’re absolutely jumping out of their skins. You’ve got club players rubbing shoulders with Super 15 players and it has really raised the energy levels,” said Jackson.
Kane Barrett will again captain the team, he is joined by fellow Blues players Joe Edwards and Tom Murday in the forward pack, and Blues first five-eighths Chris Noakes starts in the back line.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Joe Edwards play, he is oozing with enthusiasm. He’s had a few club games so we’ll look to give him as much game time as possible.”
The Blues Development team have played three games to date this season, recording three victories over their Chiefs equivalents.
The match against the New Zealand Under 20s introduces some new elements.
“We’ve got a number of players in their squad, as well as players who have been called in as injury cover. There are also guys who have missed out; so they will have a point to prove.
“The New Zealand Under 20s have been together for 10 days now and I expect they will have done a lot around their forward pack looking to match the bigger teams they come up against in the tournament.
“We have an experienced pack so I think it will be a big test in that area.”
The Blues Development return to Auckland and play the Samoa Under 20 team on Monday evening.
The Blues Development team is
1. Tom McHugh (Auckland)
2. Matt Moulds (Northland)
3. Namatahi Waa (Auckland)
4. Tom Murday (Blues)
5. Francois Marais (North Harbour)
6. Kane Barrett (Blues) ñ captain
7. Mitchell Karpik (Auckland)
8. Joe Edwards (Blues)
9. Kurt Davies (Northland)
10. Chris Noakes (Blues)
11. Jonie Macalai (Northland)
12. Caleb Hall (Auckland)
13. Dennis Pili (North Harbour)
14. Melani Nanai (Auckland)
15. Nick Smith (Auckland)
16. Gafatasi Su’a (Auckland)
17. Fraser Armstrong (Auckland)
18. Isi Tu’ungafasi (Auckland)
19. Jamie Lane (Auckland)
20. So’otala Fa’aso’o (Auckland)
21. David Bason (North Harbour)
22. Mitchell Hunt (Auckland)
23. Hayden DeVilliers (Auckland)
24. Filipo Nakosi (Northland)