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Ethan Blackadder returns for Crusaders against Waratahs

By Ned Lester
Ethan Blackadder takes a pass during the New Zealand All Blacks captain's run at Eden Park on August 13, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Crusaders are boosted by the long-awaited return of Ethan Blackadder in their round eight fixture against the Waratahs, with the All Black named to start on the blindside flank in the contest.


Hooker Brodie McAlister and All Blacks XV loose forward Christian Lio-Willie also return for the game, with both players set to be introduced off the bench.

There’s still no Scott Barrett, Tamaiti Williams, David Havili or Fergus Burke but the return of that cavalry is inching nearer.

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Retaining the captaincy is openside Tom Christie, who steered the team to victory with the armband on against the Chiefs prior to their bye week due to Mitchell Drummond, who was initially meant to captain the team, being a late scratch with illness.

Drummond returns on the bench this week, with youngster Noah Hotham earning a second consecutive start at halfback after his stellar showing in the win over the Chiefs.

After a fairytale homecoming in Christchurch in round six, Johnny McNicholl retains his starting spot on the left wing. Dallas Mcleod gets another crack in the 12 jersey and 21-year-old Jamie Hannah will look to continue to impress with his work-rate in the No. 5 jersey.

Elsewhere, all is as expected for the defending champions who are eager to build on the momentum they generated two weeks ago with their first win of the season.


Head coach Rob Penney expressed his excitement about the return of his All Black Ethan Blackadder.

“We all know the quality Ethan brings, a tremendous player who adds a lot of spark around the group,”he said.


Crusaders team to face the Waratahs

  1. George Bower
  2. George Bell
  3. Fletcher Newell
  4. Quinten Strange
  5. Jamie Hannah
  6. Ethan Blackadder
  7. Tom Christie
  8. Cullen Grace
  9. Noah Hotham
  10. Riley Hohepa
  11. Johnny McNicholl
  12. Dallas McLeod
  13. Levi Aumua
  14. Sevu Reece
  15. Chay Fihaki
Super Rugby Pacific
43 - 40
All Stats and Data


16. Brodie McAlister
17. Joe Moody
18. Owen Franks
19. Dominic Gardiner
20. Christian Lio-Willie
21. Mitchell Drummond
22. Rivez Reihana
23. Macca Springer


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Graham 70 days ago

Johnny McNicoll had to hold his place after his brilliant retro performance for the Crusaders against the Chiefs. Tom Christie had to be the captain again , as a player and leader he should be there until Scott Barrett returns, (that is talking about the captaincy re return of Barrett). Jamie Hannah is a sensation at lock , another straight forward selection. But great to see Ethan Blackadder back, dynamic loosie.Ethan is one of the best. But great article again.

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