Tony Woodcock has lost his race to overcome a calf strain in time for Friday night’s clash with the Lions as more injuries continue to plague the beleaguered Blues.
Rene Ranger (ribs), George Moala (groin) and Chris Lowrey (concussion) are all casualties from last week’s loss to the Hurricanes as Pat Lam has been forced to make a raft of changes to the starting XV for the bottom of the table battle.
The injury toll now stands at 11 including current All Blacks Keven Mealamu, Isaia Toeava, Jerome Kaino, Tony Woodcock and Anthony Boric as well as Rudi Wulf and Brad Mika.
Gareth Anscombe has been restored to the playmaking role at first five-eighths as Ma’a Nonu shifts out to centre to make room for Michael Hobbs who will start at second five-eighths.
The major backline reshuffle sees Benson Stanley and David Raikuna start on the wings with Hadleigh Parkes retaining his position at fullback.
Lowrey’s injury-enforced absence means Daniel Braid will partner his brother on the flanks, and Liaki Moli comes into the starting XV in place of Filo Paulo.
Wider Training Group loose forward Steven Luatua has become a fulltime member of the Blues squad to cover for injuries and has been named on the bench.