TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Crusaders have returned from two weeks on the road to host the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday night.


All of the changes to the side this week are in the forward pack, including the return of Joe Moody at loosehead prop, shifting George Bower to the reserves. At hooker, Andrew Makalio will start this game in place of Codie Taylor, and Brodie McAlister is set to make his Investec Super Rugby debut from the bench.

Kieran Read is on All Blacks rest this week, and there is a reshuffle in the loose forwards which sees Jordan Taufua move from No. 8 to blindside, Whetukamokamo Douglas start at No. 8 and Ethan Blackadder provide cover on the bench.

Backs Richie Mo’unga and George Bridge, who have been caught up in the middle of misconduct allegations this week, retain their spots at first five and on the wing.

The Crusaders have all but sewn up top seeding for the playoffs but their form has faltered a little bit in the last few weeks. Coach Scott Robertson will be looking for a reassuring performance from his charges as the finals draw nearer.

Crusaders: David Havili, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock (c), Scott Barrett, Michael Ala’alatoa, Andrew Makalio, Joe Moody. Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Isi Tu’ungafasi, George Bower, Luke Romano, Ethan Blackadder, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt.

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