The Crusaders travel to Dunedin tomorrow, ahead of their round four match against the Highlanders on Saturday night.


Head Coach Scott Robertson has made five changes to the starting side and one positional change, with Will Jordan moving to the right wing this week to make way for vice-captain, David Havili, to slot in at fullback.

The tight five remains unchanged for this game, while there are two changes in the loose forwards. Cullen Grace underwent surgery on Tuesday for a fracture at the base of his right thumb, which sees Ethan Blackadder start in his place. 22-year-old Tom Christie also earns a start this week, for Billy Harmon at openside flanker.

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Long-time NZ rugby journalist Ross Karl is joined by two players each week to discuss the ins and outs of the great game in New Zealand.

In the backs, Bryn Hall and George Bridge will be rested, meaning Mitch Drummond starts at halfback and Leicester Fainga’anuku takes a spot on the left wing.

Exciting Tasman back, Fetuli Paea, is set to become Crusader #245 on Saturday night, having been named on the bench for what will be his first Super Rugby appearance. Also included in the reserves is Oli Jager, who was a late withdrawal from the side last week with a back complaint and is now fully fit to return to the 23.

Following their successful return from injury to play club rugby last week, Andrew Makalio and Quinten Strange have both been named in the reserves for the first time in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa, and make a welcome return to face the Highlanders.


Crusaders: David Havili, Will Jordan, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Leicester Faina’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond, Whteukamokamo Douglas, Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Whitelock, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor (c), Joe Moody. Reserves: Andrew Makalio, George Bower, Oli Jager, Quinten Strange, Sione Havili, Ereatara Enari, Fetuli Paea, Sevu Reece.

– Crusaders Rugby

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