Ioane handed Blues debut

Blues lock Josh Bekhuis joins illustrious company when he celebrates his 100th appearance in Super Rugby against the Reds in Brisbane.

It is his 18th game for the Blues after playing 82 times for the Highlanders.

The only change in the forward pack from the team named against the Hurricanes is the return of Patrick Tuipulotu to start at lock with Steven Luatua moving back to number eight and Akira Ioane to the bench.

Compelling form from All Blacks Sevens teenager Rieko Ioane has won him his first start on the right wing in an otherwise unchanged backline.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Male Sa’u, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (c) 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Akira Ioane, 22 Billy Guyton, 23 Matt McGahan

Date: Saturday, March 19
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 18:45 local (08:45 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry, Jordan Way
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore