DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 08: Sonny Bill Williams of the Blues makes a break during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Blues on April 8, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

It’s a crucial match for the Rebels when they take on the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland this Saturday.

The Rebels are coming off back-to-back wins over the Brumbies and Sunwolves, while the Blues are still looking to restore their game plan and finish off strong after a very dull season.

The Blues are currently in last place on the New Zealand Conference log, while the Rebels are second on the Australian Conference log.

Blues team and injury news

The Blues welcome back prop Alex Hodgman to the starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Rebels at Eden Park.

Hodgman is back after a wrist injury which has sidelined him for nine games.

According to the Blues website, the other change in the pack sees Matt Moulds make his first start for the season, with the durable James Parsons not recovered from the head injury he received last week, which has led to a two-week suspension to Crusaders prop Owen Franks.

There is a second start for Counties Manukau lock Matiaha Martin after impressing on debut as a late replacement for the Blues’ injury-hit locking stocks.

The Blues welcome their All Blacks Ofa Tuungafasi and Sonny Bill Williams back while Rieko Ioane takes his enforced All Black break this week, to allow try-scoring winger Tumua Manu his fourth game for the club on the left wing. Williams is bracketed with Bay of Plenty midfielder Terrence Hepetema after receiving a knock at the All Black camp this week.

Michael Collins, who returned from a four-game injury break, as a replacement last week, comes back into the starting line-up with an in-form Matt Duffie back to his accustomed spot on the right wing.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Sonny Bill Williams/Terrence Hepetema, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman

Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane/Terrence Hepetema

Rebels team and injury news

Rebels Prop Jermaine Ainsley and back-rower, Ross Haylett-Petty will make their Super Rugby returns this Saturday afternoon.

Ainsley returns after missing the Rebels’ win over the Sunwolves while experienced tighthead Sam Talakai shifts to the reserves.

Haylett-Petty returns for his first match at Super Rugby level since suffering concussion during the match against the Bulls in Pretoria and will start on the bench.

Winger Sefa Naivalu and last week’s debutant, Pone Fa’amausili have both been omitted from this week’s team.

Melbourne Rebels Head Coach, Dave Wessels: “We’ve worked hard over the last couple of weeks on our ability to finish games strongly – this is due in large part to the work our conditioning staff has put into the team as well as the impressive impact our bench has made in recent weeks. They’ve come on and really wanted to rattle the cage.”

Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Matt Philipm 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga

Substitutes: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Tayler Adams, 23 Lopeti Timani

Kick-off time

Saturday, 2 June, 07:15 (SAST).

TV & Live Stream

SuperSport 1 (subscription required) at 07:10 (SAST).

Super Rugby Form (most recent result first)