Papalii back as Blues captain

The Blues welcome back their captain Dalton Papalii as they prepare to square off against the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Pacific competition at Eden Park.

The team, returned to Auckland on Thursday from its temporary base in Queenstown, is almost the same combination that was pipped 33-32 in the first outing against the Hurricanes.

The only changes to the starting line-up sees Papalii back to full fitness on the openside flank, and NPC player of the year, Stephen Perofeta to start at fullback.

The pack has a strong look with Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Luke Romano, Hoskins Sotutu and Papalii all having worn the All Black jersey.

"The team is looking forward to returning home to their families, although we have some strict protocols in place to keep as safe as possible from the covid virus," said head coach Leon MacDonald.

"For over 70 minutes we were pleased with the rugby that the boys played. On the plus side, it was our first game and we will be better for that run, although the boys clearly understand that the game is played over 80 minutes.

"There were a lot of things we did well, but we will need to keep improving every game, especially with the challenge the Chiefs present with a strong pack and talent across the field."

The game will be played without a crowd.


Photo Blues Rugby  Caption: Dalton Papalii