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The Blues will be without Tony Woodcock for Friday's match against the Reds after the All Black prop suffered a calf strain at training.
The basement-dwellers' latest casualty means Tevita Mailau moves into the starting line-up to replace Woodcock and Auckland prop Angus Ta'avao will be the bench replacement.
In the absence of Keven Mealamu, Luke Braid will again captain the team.
Some positive news on the injury front is Rudi Wulf returns to the side this week after a shoulder injury kept him out of last week's match against the Highlanders.
All Blacks half-back Piri Weepu gets the number nine jersey, setting up a match-up with Wallaby Will Genia.
Digby Ioane will play his 50th game for the Reds when he returns from suspension at outside centre in Friday's hit-out with the Blues.
The Reds livewire makes a timely return from a five-week suspension and is one of two key backline figures returning to the matchday squad with centre Anthony Faingaa recovering from a foot injury to earn a place on the bench.
In the forwards Adam Wallace-Harrison and Eddie Quirk earn their place on the bench in place of injured lock Van Humphries and backrower Radike Samo.
The change means coach Ewen McKenzie will employ the same back row strategy he applied against the Brumbies three weeks ago whereby flankers Liam Gill and Beau Robinson commence the game in tandem before Quirk is injected later in the match.
The inclusion of Gill and Robinson pushes Scott Higginbotham to number eight in an otherwise unchanged forward pack which features a tight-five of Ben Daley, James Hanson, James Slipper, Rob Simmons and James Horwill.
In the backs, fly-half Ben Lucas will start the game in the number 10 jersey after playing 76 minutes at the position last week against the Stormers following the early loss of playmaker Sam Lane.
Lucas and Ioane are the sole changes to the starting backline with vice-captain Will Genia at scrum-half, Mike Harris at inside centre, Dom Shipperley and Rod Davies on the wings and Luke Morahan at full-back.
The Reds were successful in their two matches against the Blues in 2011, including a 30-13 victory in the Super Rugby Semi-Final at Suncorp Stadium.
However McKenzie is expecting a far tougher challenge against the Auckland based outfit this time round as the Blues endeavour to regroup from a disappointing 2012 campaign which has at this stage resulted in just one win.
"Friday night is an important game for both teams and we're fully aware of the challenge of going to Eden Park. It's also only a matter of time before the Blues click," said McKenzie.
"But we've got a lot to play for in this game and nor has our best Rugby been seen. It's an opportunity to get our season back on track and the group is excited by the challenge."
Blues: 15 Hadleigh Parkes, 14 George Moala, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Ali Williams, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tevita Mailau.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Pauliasi Manu/Angus Ta'avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Chris Lowrey, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 Benson Stanley (one to be omitted).
Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Digby Ioane, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Rod Davies, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Beau Robinson, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Ed Quirk, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Faingaa.
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|Saturday 8th March|
|15:05||Bulls vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 14th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Stormers|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Crusaders|
|Saturday 15th March|
|03:35||Hurricanes vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Western Force|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Waratahs|
|13:00||Lions vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Reds|
|Friday 21st March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 22nd March|
|06:35||Blues vs Cheetahs|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Stormers|
|11:00||Western Force vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Lions vs Reds|
|17:10||Bulls vs Sharks|
|Friday 28th March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|Saturday 29th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Reds vs Stormers|
|13:00||Bulls vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Waratahs|
|Friday 4th April|
|07:35||Highlanders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:40||Brumbies vs Blues|
|Saturday 5th April|
|07:35||Hurricanes vs Bulls|
|Saturday 8th March|
|Western Force 32 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Crusaders 14 - 13 Stormers|
|Friday 7th March|
|Reds 43 - 33 Cheetahs|
|Hurricanes 21 - 29 Brumbies|
|Saturday 1st March|
|Bulls 25 - 17 Lions|
|Western Force 14 - 27 Brumbies|
|Waratahs 32 - 5 Reds|
|Chiefs 21 - 19 Highlanders|
|Friday 28th February|
|Stormers 19 - 18 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 35 - 14 Cheetahs|
|Blues 35 - 24 Crusaders|
|Sunday 23rd February|
|Waratahs 43 - 21 Western Force|
|Saturday 22nd February|
|Lions 34 - 10 Stormers|
|Sharks 27 - 9 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 17 - 27 Reds|
|Highlanders 29 - 21 Blues|
|Friday 21st February|
|Cheetahs 15 - 9 Bulls|
|Crusaders 10 - 18 Chiefs|
|Saturday 15th February|
|Sharks 31 - 16 Bulls|
|Cheetahs 20 - 21 Lions|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com