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Marshall back to bench for Blues

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Update: 1:00PM Benji Marshall goes back to the bench while youngster Simon Hickey has been recalled as the Blues' starting five-eighth for their Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs in Auckland.

Hickey, who came off the bench in the 39-36 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend, will wear the No.10 jersey ahead of Chris Noakes who drops out of the match squad.

Coach John Kirwan says Hickey, 20, showed some spark when he went on and deserved to be in the run-on side against the Cheetahs.

Marshall, who produced some nice touches at fullback against the Lions in his first Super Rugby start, will be used as fullback and five eighth cover.

Kirwan says the league convert still needs to work on "a little bit of positional stuff" and will definitely get game time at Eden Park on Saturday night.

"For him on attack - outstanding," Kirwan said.

"We just need him to keep learning positional play and at fullback that's not easy to do, but he will pick it up quick."

Marshall will join a star-studded bench that includes All Blacks in centre Ma'a Nonu, back from ankle surgery, and loose forward Jerome Kaino, who has returned from a stint in Japan.

All Black Charles Piutau takes over the fullback spot again, with teenager Tevita Li replacing Piutau on the left wing.

In other changes, Jackson Willison is selected at inside centre, Peter Saili has recovered from a kneecap problem to go to No.8, and lock Liaki Moli replaces injured lock Patrick Tuipulotu.

Blues: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, George Moala, Jackson Willison, Tevita Li, Simon Hickey, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid (capt), Steven Luatua, Tom Donnelly, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Jerome Kaino, Hayden Triggs, Bryn Hall, Ma'a Nonu, Benji Marshall.

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