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|20 - 27||
The Blues will be out to play the spoiler's role when they host the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday, with the visitors desperate to stay in play-off contention.
The seventh-placed Highlanders bounced back last week to beat the table-topping Bulls in Dunedin.
They will sense a chance to gain a rare win in Auckland, given the second-from-bottom Blues suffered a humiliating 59-12 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend.
In the wake of the All Blacks training camp in Auckland last weekend, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams and Ma'a Nonu have dropped to the Blues' bench for this clash.
Injuries have also forced Blues head coach Pat Lam's hand, with 11 players ruled out.
Benson Stanley became the latest casualty after sustaining concussion against the Crusaders.
George Moala will sit out the rest of the season after undergoing surgery for a cut hand over the weekend, while Keven Mealamu, Rudi Wulf and Rene Ranger are still out.
Hooker James Parsons and midfielder Francis Saili both make their run-on debuts for the Blues alongside fellow wider training group players Hadleigh Parkes and Steven Luatua.
Lam told the club's official website: "Part of the selection is enthusiasm, excitement and energy.
"We're going to need that first and foremost against the Highlanders to get out there and really take it to them and we'll then have plenty of experience and leadership coming off the bench.
"James Parsons has come off the bench five times now and shown some real energy and deserves an opportunity to have a run out there.
"We've also been hit with quite a few injuries to the midfield and Ma'a has gone non-stop so it's a chance to give him a break and hand the opportunity over to Francis who was extremely excited when I told him."
For the Highlanders, former All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan has been named to make his first start in over two months.
The Gloucester-bound halfback has got the nod in the number nine jersey in place of Aaron Smith for Saturday's Super Rugby match.
Cowan says it's been a long time coming.
"I'm willing to go out there and put it all out there tomorrow night and hopefully I'll put a good performance in and give the coaches something to think about going forward," he said.
Cowan is one of five changes to the Highlanders starting line-up, with Andrew Hore (promoted ahead of hooker Jason Rutledge), Hoani MacDonald, Chris Noakes and Kurt Baker also coming into the side.
Baker and Noakes come in for Siale Piutau and Mike Delany respectively, while MacDonald slots in the second row with Nick Crosswell switching to number eight to fill in for Nasi Manu.
Blues: 15 Hadleigh Parkes, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili/Luke Braid (c), 7 Luke Braid/Daniel Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Tevita Mailau, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Daniel Braid/Peter Saili/Daniel Pryor, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Ma'a Nonu, 22 Lachie Munro
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nick Crosswell, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Hoani MacDonald, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c)
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Scott Fuglistaller, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Kenny Lynn
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|Friday 18th April|
|08:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force|
|Saturday 19th April|
|08:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|10:40||Waratahs vs Bulls|
|14:00||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|16:05||Stormers vs Lions|
|Friday 25th April|
|06:35||Blues vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Chiefs|
|18:10||Sharks vs Highlanders|
|Saturday 26th April|
|08:35||Hurricanes vs Reds|
|10:40||Western Force vs Bulls|
|16:05||Cheetahs vs Stormers|
|Friday 2nd May|
|08:35||Blues vs Reds|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Sharks|
|Saturday 3rd May|
|08:35||Crusaders vs Brumbies|
|08:35||Chiefs vs Lions|
|10:40||Waratahs vs Hurricanes|
|14:00||Stormers vs Highlanders|
|16:05||Bulls vs Cheetahs|
|Friday 9th May|
|08:35||Chiefs vs Blues|
|10:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 10th May|
|08:35||Highlanders vs Lions|
|10:40||Brumbies vs Sharks|
|16:05||Cheetahs vs Western Force|
|18:10||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Saturday 12th April|
|Lions 12 - 25 Sharks|
|Cheetahs 31 - 52 Crusaders|
|Western Force 28 - 16 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne Rebels|
|Friday 11th April|
|Reds 20 - 23 Brumbies|
|Highlanders 27 - 20 Bulls|
|Saturday 5th April|
|Stormers 11 - 22 Waratahs|
|Lions 7 - 28 Crusaders|
|Cheetahs 43 - 43 Chiefs|
|Reds 29 - 32 Western Force|
|Hurricanes 25 - 20 Bulls|
|Friday 4th April|
|Brumbies 26 - 9 Blues|
|Highlanders 33 - 30 Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 29th March|
|Sharks 32 - 10 Waratahs|
|Bulls 34 - 34 Chiefs|
|Reds 22 - 17 Stormers|
|Blues 30 - 12 Highlanders|
|Friday 28th March|
|Melbourne Rebels 32 - 24 Brumbies|
|Crusaders 26 - 29 Hurricanes|
|Saturday 22nd March|
|Bulls 23 - 19 Sharks|
|Lions 23 - 20 Reds|
|Western Force 18 - 15 Chiefs|
|Brumbies 25 - 15 Stormers|
|Blues 40 - 30 Cheetahs|
|Friday 21st March|
|Waratahs 32 - 8 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com