A milestone game for departing flanker Jerome Kaino will drive Super Rugby’s beleaguered Blues when they host the Queensland Reds in Auckland.
The All Blacks veteran will play his last game at Eden Park when competition resumes on Friday following the June international break.
The 35-year-old, who joins Toulouse in August, will play his 137th match for the Blues, equalling the figure of Tony Woodcock.
Only New Zealand Test great Keven Mealamu with 164 has played more.
With his second to last-placed team battling to avoid the wooden spoon, Blues coach Tana Umaga called on his players to lift for Kaino and end their 2018 winless record at Eden Park
“Jerome has been a magnificent contributor to the Blues and the All Blacks both on and off the field and much of that success has been on Eden Park,” Umaga said.
“There is no better way for our team to honour Jerome than produce a performance of real quality, consistency and direction.”
A hugely influential figure in the All Blacks’ World Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2015, Kaino played 18 of his 81 Tests at Eden Park.
His Super Rugby debut was against the Reds in 2004.
Umaga has made five changes to his team beaten 20-10 by the Rebels on June 2 and could make a sixth if bracketed captain Augustine Pulu fails a late fitness test.
All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane returns at second five in a makeshift midfield forced by injuries.
A notable selection is highly-rated flanker Blake Gibson in his first appearance since undergoing off-season shoulder surgery.