Blues v France, North Harbour Stadium
Kirwan names youthful Blues
ESPN Staff
June 7, 2013
John Kirwan is the man chosen by the Blues to replace Pat Lam, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, July 17, 2012
Sir John Kirwan is looking for his players to express themselves © Getty Images

Sir John Kirwan has named a new-look Blues team to play France at North Harbour Stadium on Tuesday, the coach saying the fixture provides "an incredible opportunity for us to get those boys out there with no real pressure except playing a great international side and having the opportunity to express themselves".

The Blues will be missing their six All Blacks, but Kirwan says there is no lack of back-up talent. "We've got young guys like 20-year-old centre Malakai Fekitoa and schoolboy Tevita Li in, so for me it's a fantastic opportunity for the franchise."

Kirwan says he is treating the match as he would any Super Rugby fixture, analysing video, training hard and ensuring everything is done to produce a quality performance.

"Some guys in the team are under a microscope and they need to take their opportunities - guys like Kane Barrett and Malakai Fekitoa," Kirwan said. "We've got guys in the football team that haven't had a lot of game time, and they need to say to us 'we're ready'."

With Ali Williams and Luke Braid both rested, James Parsons will lead the Blues for the first time.

Blues: Marty McKenzie; Frank Halai, Malakai Fekitoa, Jackson Willison, George Moala; Baden Kerr, Jamison Gibson-Park; Peter Saili, Brendon O'Connor, Kane Barrett; Culum Retallick, Anthony Boric; Ofa Tu'ungafasi, James Parsons (captain), Sam Prattley. Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Angus Ta'avao, Liaki Moli, Ronald Raaymakers, Sean Polwart, Chris Noakes, Tevita Li, Wayne Ngaluafe.

© ESPN Australia / New Zealand

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