Blues

Carter pulled from Blues line-up

"He's pulled up a bit tight," Blues coach Leon MacDonald said.

"It's nothing too major but we want to make sure we don't risk anything with Dan.

"With calves, if you get on top of them early, it can take a couple of days to come right, but if you're a little bit late it can be three to four weeks, so it makes sense just to look after him."

Carter's withdrawal means the full glare of the spotlight will be back on Beauden Barrett, who is returning to Wellington for the first time since his move from the Hurricanes to the Blues.

Crusaders down Blues with barnstorming finish

The win extended their winning streak at home to 36 games, but was hard earned after the Blues led for the first 60 minutes.

Both sides were unbeaten after their first three games of Super Rugby Aotearoa, with the Blues also boasting four straight wins before Covid-19 suspended the original Super Rugby competition.

The Blues drew first blood tonight, just 10 minutes after kick-off, building pressure before Otere Black's wide ball found Mark Telea on the right wing.

Blues and Crusaders, the battle is back

The provincial bloodfeud, which dates back more than a century, has waned in recent years with the nine times champion Crusaders dominating almost all comers.

But with both sides unbeaten after their first three games of Super Rugby Aotearoa Saturday's match up has fans and players hoping for a new chapter in the storied conflict.

Carlos Spencer sparking a length of the field try to seal the win for the Blues over the Crusaders in 2004 before flipping the Canterbury crowd the bird, epitomising the intense rivalry between the two teams.

Crusaders bring back big guns but bench rising superstar for Blues battle

 Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has made few changes to the side that secured a bonus-point win against the Highlanders last weekend.

Ethan Blackadder sustained a knee injury at training last week and was ruled out of the match in Dunedin. His replacements, Sione Havili and Tom Sanders, will rotate this week, with Sanders to start and Havili named on the bench. The rest of the forward pack is unchanged.

Crusaders have huge amount of respect for the Blues

In a top of the table clash this Saturday, the Crusaders host the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa in Christchurch, a match which will give many older fans flashbacks to the glory days of the Auckland-Canterbury rivalry.

Both sides are unbeaten after three games, and with no finals to take place, Saturday could go a long way towards deciding which team will lift the trophy later this year.

Hansen says there is a huge amount of respect for the Blues.

Blues' blockbuster Hoskins Sotutu is eligible for England and Fiji

Witnessing the Blues’ continued resurgence during Super Rugby Aotearoa it is impossible to miss Sotutu’s blond-haired presence often leading the charge alongside captain Patrick Tuipulotu’s pink tips.

The 21-year-old, in his first full Super Rugby campaign after debuting late last season, has kept talented teammate Akira Ioane out of the No 8 role with a series of captivating performances, and now seems destined to crack the All Blacks squad later this year.

Blues down tryless Chiefs

They kept the Chiefs tryless in a match which looked set to be decided by a kicking battle between Damian McKenzie for the Chiefs and the Blues' playmaker Otere Black.

But two well-taken tries proved pivotal, and the Blues eased to the top of the Super Rugby Aotearoa ladder with their first win over the Chiefs in Hamilton since 2011.

The Chiefs drew first blood with a McKenzie penalty after 12 minutes, only for the Blues to hit back two minutes later when No.8 Hoskins Sotutu powered over from close range after a solid Blues lineout.

Blues defeat Hurricanes 30-20 in front of huge home crowd

Two-time world player of the year, Beauden Barrett, missed out on the No.10 jersey in his first game for the Blues, instead making his debut at fullback against his former side on Sunday.

Otere Black retained the first five-eighth spot after impressing MacDonald earlier in the season, and landed six from six with the boot as well as directing the Blues back line with clarity and control.

Barrett at the back for the Blues

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said selecting his side for the opening game of Super Rugby Aotearoa against the Hurricanes was the hardest selection decision he had made in his time with the Blues.

Otere Black retains the first five-eigth spot after impressing MacDonald earlier in the season.

"His form was outstanding pre-lockdown and he's come back out of lockdown in even better nick and he's trained really well," MacDonald said.

All eyes on Beauden Barrett this weekend

As well as being his debut for the Blues, Sunday's match in Auckland would be his first against his former club.

Of everything Barrett pondered during the Covid-19 lockdown, it was a moment which occupied more of his time than most.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, he said he knew the game would be a unique experience.

"There's a lot of familiar faces in that team that I know very well.

"It's a game that I've played a few times in my head already and at the moment I'm just enjoying each day.