26 Mar 2015

Bowden gets first start at 10 for Blues

5:57 pm on 26 March 2015

Dan Bowden will make his debut for the winless Blues at first five-eighth in their Super Rugby clash with the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

Daniel Bowden

Daniel Bowden Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The former Highlanders and Crusaders player has been sidelined with a foot injury and has been forced to watch as the Blues have lost their first five games of the season.

Now he's fit, Blues coach Sir John Kirwan says they've selected Bowden for his experience.

"We're really happy with Ihaia's (West) progression, we think he's getting better and better but for us, we brought Dan down for his experience running a football team, he's been out injured and he's back so we really want to select his experience for the situation we're in at the moment."

Bowden signed for the Blues for two years after playing in UK and Japan for the past four years and has 27 Super Rugby caps but Saturday will be his first for the Blues after he returned to Auckland this year.

West, who has kicked 56 points in five games, has played the majority of the minutes for the Blues in the 10 jersey so far has been left out of the 23.

Hayden Triggs gets the starting job at lock with All Black Patrick Tuipulotu, with Josh Bekhuis sideleined with injury, while Brendon O'Connor gets the start at No.7 with Luke Braid on the bench.

There are several players returning to the squad for the first time after early season injuries including George Moala who has his first start at centre, with former All Black Sevens player Pita Ahki and lock Culum Retallick on the bench.

All Black Charles Piutau will move fullback after playing two games at centre.

Players not considered because of injury include Bryn Hall, who will be out for approximately eight weeks after fracturing his foot in club rugby last week, and Bekhuis, who is expected to be available for selection next week.

Blues: Tony Woodcock, James Parsons, Charlie Faumuina, Hayden Triggs, Patrick Tuipulotu, Steven Luatua, Brendon O'Connor, Jerome Kaino (c), Jimmy Cowan, Dan Bowden, Melani Nanai, Francis Saili, George Moala, Frank Halai, Charles Piutau

Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Sam Prattley, Angus Ta'avao, Culum Retallick, Luke Braid, Jamison Gibson-Park, Simon Hickey, Pita Ahki