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Braydon Ennor to make Crusaders return in Super Rugby Aotearoa final

By Tom Vinicombe
Braydon Ennor has shone for the Crusaders in the opening round of Super Rugby. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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In somewhat of a shock selection, coach Scott Robertson has brought Braydon Ennor into the Crusaders side for their Super Rugby Aotearoa grand final on Saturday night.

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Ennor ruptured his ACL in the early stages of last year’s North v South match hasn’t played a match of professional rugby since – although the 23-year-old has notched up a few club rugby appearances over the past month.

Ennor won’t slot straight back into the starting lineup, however, instead taking the spot of Manasa Mataele on the bench.

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The utility back is the sole change that Robertson has made to the side that took the field against the Blues two weeks ago in Christchurch.

Instead, the Tasman pair of David Havili and Leicester Fainga’anuku retain their spots in the midfield while George Bridge, Sevu Reece and Will Jordan hold down their spots in the outside backs.

Fainga’anuku, playing in his first final, is the sole player in the backline who’s not yet represented the All Blacks.

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Coach Robertson is looking forward to seeing his side run out in front of a thriving crowd on Saturday evening.

“Occasions like this are exactly what we play for, the chance to represent the people of our region on the big stage and play in front of our friends and family at home,” he said.

“We’ve prepared well and enjoyed the week together, this is a team that really cares and will work hard for one another on Saturday night. The Chiefs will come to Christchurch with plenty of confidence, and we’re going to have to dig deep.”

The Crusaders are undefeated in 24 finals matches played in Christchurch – although they’ve won just one of their three knockout matches played against the Chiefs.

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The two finalists have split the wins in their two encounters this year with the Crusaders scoring a handy win in Christchurch before the Chiefs bounced the defending Super Rugby Aotearoa champions in the return fixture in Hamilton.

Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Leicester Fainga’anuku, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Mitch Drummond, Cullen Grace, Sione Havili Talitui, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, George Bower. Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Tamaiti Williams, Oli Jager, Mitchell Dunshea, Tom Sanders, Bryn Hall, Dallas McLeod, Braydon Ennor.

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Braydon Ennor to make Crusaders return in Super Rugby Aotearoa final

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