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Crusaders gear up for knockouts


All Blacks galore as Crusaders gear up for another finals run

The Crusaders have secured a home quarter-final, and will host the Sharks at AMI Stadium on Saturday night. It is the first time the two sides have met since round five of the 2016 season, and the first time since 2014 that the Sharks have played in Christchurch.

Head Coach Scott Robertson has named his team for the knock-out fixture, and it includes three changes in the forwards and two in the backs from the side that defeated the Blues last week.

All Blacks front-rowers Codie Taylor and Owen Franks return to the starting line-up at hooker and tighthead respectively, meaning Andrew Makalio and Michael Alaalatoa move to the reserves bench.

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Scott Barrett also returns from a rest week to resume his role at lock, and Luke Romano will once again provide cover on the bench. The loose forward trio of Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd and Kieran Read remains unchanged this week, with Read having recovered from the wrist/thumb injury he sustained against the Blues.

Bryn Hall and Mitchell Drummond will again switch for this game, so that Hall takes the starting spot at halfback and Drummond moves to the bench. The only other change sees David Havili rejoin the squad at fullback in place of Israel Dagg.


15. David Havili, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Ryan Crotty (VC), 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Matt Todd (VC), 6. Jordan Tafua, 5. Sam Whitelock (C), 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Tim Perry.
Reserves: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Michael Alaalatoa, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Manasa Mataele.

In other news:

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All Blacks galore as Crusaders gear up for another finals run