Blues avoid mind games with the Crusaders

Rugby fans won't get to see the sight of Dan Carter playing against the Crusaders this weekend afterall.

Carter who won three Super Rugby titles during his time with Christchurch based side hasn't been named in the Blues squad for the top of the table Super Rugby Aotearoa clash on Saturday night.

Carter signed with the Blues last month as injury cover but is yet to play for the side.

While the sight of him in a Blues jersey might have been hard for Crusaders fans to swallow his return to the field has been eagerly anticipated.

However the Blues have decided against playing mind games with the Crusaders and include Carter, who turned out for his Canterbury club Southbridge last weekend when the Blues had a Super Rugby Aotearoa bye.

Coach Leon MacDonald, has named an unchanged forward pack from that which beat the Highlanders in their last outing while there are two changes in the backs with halfback Finlay Christie and second-five Harry Plummer coming into the starting fifteen.

All Black prop Karl Tu'inukuafe is set to make his Super Rugby Aotearoa debut named on the bench having recovered from injury.

The Crusaders and the Blues are both unbeaten in their three games in the competition but "just because we have won the last three games, we know that means nothing in the scheme of things," said coach Leon MacDonald.

"The Crusaders are the benchmark in New Zealand rugby, so we are under no illusion about the task ahead of us. They have won the last 35 games of Super Rugby at home," he said.

Forwards coach Tom Coventry said he had been working his players extra hard this week.

"We've had a couple of extra sessions with our forward pack to make sure we are ready for that test and a little bit of work on our set piece because that is invariably where their strength is and it's an area we let oursleves down in the last time we played them," Coventry said.