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Latimer in line to make Blues debut

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/04/2016
Tanerau Latimer in action for his Bay of Plenty side during the ITM Cup. © Getty Images Tanerau Latimer in action for his Bay of Plenty side during the ITM Cup.

Super Rugby centurion and former All Black Tanerau Latimer is in the frame to make his debut for the Blues on Saturday night.

Latimer, who has been sidelined with a calf injury and will need to pass a final fitness test, has been bracketed with Kara Pryor for the No.7 jersey against the Sharks in Auckland.

His inclusion on the team sheet comes after news that stand-out young flanker Blake Gibson will be out for most of the rest of the season after fracturing a thumb in training this week.

Latimer, 29, played 109 times for the Chiefs and gained five Test caps before heading to Japan.

Apart from Gibson's unavailability, there is one other change to the Blues' starting 15 from the 29-23 defeat to the competition leading Chiefs last week.

Fullback Lolagi Visinia, who missed that match after being a late withdrawal because of a training ground injury, comes back for Melani Nanai, who drops out of the match-day 23.

<p>Former Blues rugby player Kurtis Haiu has died of cancer, aged 31.</p> © Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Former Blues rugby player Kurtis Haiu has died of cancer, aged 31.

The team will wear black armbands at Eden Park and there will be a moment's silence before the game in memory of Blues lock Kurtis Haiu, who died of bone cancer at the age of 31.

Blues: Lolagi Visinia, Rieko Ioane, Rene Ranger, Piers Francis, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Bryn Hall, Steven Luatua, Tanerau Latimer/Kara Pryor, Jerome Kaino (capt), Josh Bekhuis, Hoani Matenga, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Sam Prattley. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Kara Pryor/Joe Edwards, Akira Ioane, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, George Moala.

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