Follow all the action on the RugbyPass live blog from the Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Crusaders and Highlanders at Orangtheory Stadium in Christchurch.


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Joe Moody returns to the Crusaders’ starting side this week, having missed the match in Hamilton due to a family bereavement, while vice-captain Whetukamokamo Douglas and Centre Braydon Ennor have come through training this week to make their respective returns from injury.

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Aaron Mauger speaks to media.

Douglas’ return at No. 8 sees Tom Sanders move back to the blindside, and Sione Havili takes a spot in the reserves.

The promotion of Quinten Strange to the starting side is the only other change in the forward pack, with Luke Romano providing cover on the bench and Mitch Dunshea rested for this game.

Ennor’s inclusion in the midfield is one of only two changes in the backline, with Bryn Hall and Mitch Drummond rotating so that Hall starts at halfback and Drummond will provide important impact off the bench.


As for the Highlanders, head coach Aaron Mauger has brought electric young wing Jona Nareki onto the left wing in place of fellow youngster Scott Gregory, who drops out of the match day squad entirely.

There are an additional three changes in the reserves, with veteran loosehead prop Daniel Lienert-Brown coming into the No. 17 jersey in place of rookie Southland front rower Ethan de Groot.

Mauger has opted to go for a six/two split on the bench, naming utility back Ngane Punivai at No. 22 in place of Bryn Gatland, while versatile loose forward Teariki Ben-Nicholas vacates the No. 23 spot last donned by Nareki.


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