Coach Scott Robertson has kept the faith with the 23 that tore holes in the Hurricanes defence for the Crusaders’ second match of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season, against the Chiefs in Christchurch.

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The Crusaders return home this weekend for the first time since March 6th and will be hoping to reverse the loss inflicted by the Chiefs earlier in the year.

Having scored five tries to one in Wellington last weekend, Robertson has stuck with the tried and tested and made no changes to the team for this Sunday’s match.

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Crusaders captain Scott Barrett will undergo surgery.

As such, the Crusaders will call upon 11 All Blacks for their match-up with the Chiefs – including 7 starters who featured for New Zealand at last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Codie Taylor, who was handed the captain’s armband last week, retains leadership duties after regular captain Scott Barrett undertook surgery earlier this week which will rule him out for the entire competition.

Braydon Ennor, who sustained a haematoma against the Hurricanes and didn’t return after the halftime whistle, has recovered sufficiently to take his place in the midfield.

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”He was removed at halftime just to make sure it didn’t get any worse. He’s responded really well to the physios post-match, and in the early part of the week,” said assistant coach Mark Jones of the 1-cap All Black.

Robertson told media this morning that giving the same 23 an opportunity to play together again this week is a chance to build combinations quickly given the short 10-week competition.

“We know the nature of the competition, it is a sprint, it’s short, sharp,” Robertson said.

“It’s really important to get off to a good start and that’s what we’ve done with the team that played well last week and [we’ve] rewarded them.”

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Several Crusaders players are also set to turn out for their clubs this week, including Quinten Strange and Andrew Makalio, who are both returning from injury.

Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Tom Christie, Cullen Grace, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Whitelock, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor (c), Joe Moody. Reserves: Brodie McAlister, George Bower, Oli Jager, Luke Romano, Ethan Blackadder, Mitchell Drummond, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku.

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