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'Daring, gallus and honest, Stuart Hogg has defined a Scottish era'

Stuart Hogg retires young, but retires a giant of Scottish sport.

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Sam Whitelock named for Super Rugby return vs the Highlanders

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

All Blacks and Super Rugby veteran Sam Whitelock will return to the Crusaders’ second-row this weekend, as they look to bounce back from an opening round loss on Friday.


Whitelock was ruled out of the season opener against the Chiefs in Christchurch because of a concussion, but is set to run out in the No. 5 jersey against the Highlanders.

The fierce South Island rivals will go head-to-head in the first match of Super Round on Friday, which is due to kick-off at Melbourne’s AAMI park at 8pm NZT.

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All 12 Super Rugby Pacific teams will play at the same venue over three nights from Friday to Sunday.

Defending Super Rugby champions the Crusaders, who have won six titles in as many years under coach Scott Robertson, and eager to bounce back from their 31-10 defeat.

“There were some awesome efforts last week, and a couple of things we need to get better at,” Robertson said.

There is one change in the front row this weekend, with Tamaiti Williams set to start at tighthead prop.


That is one of three changes in the forward pack, with Christian Lio-Willie to start and of course the return of star lock Sam Whitelock.

“It’s great to have him back around the group,” he added.

“14 years’ experience – we all know how important he is for us.”

As for the backline, the Crusaders have stuck by their halves pairing from last weekend – with capped internationals Mitchell Drummond and Richie Mo’unga set to combine once again.


Utility back David Havili has moved from fullback to inside centre, and will partner Jack Goodhue in the midfield.

Fergus Burke is set to fill the hole left by Havili’s move to the centres, and don the No. 15 jersey after playing some “great footy.”

“Ferg’s been playing great footy you know. He’s quick enough, he’s big enough and he can punt a ball.


“We had him there for a bit of the pre-season to set him up and this is the game we decided to do it.”

There is one debutant in the Crusaders team this week, with replacement Noah Hotham in line for his first taste of Super Rugby Pacific.

“It wasn’t that long ago I was in highs school and before that at intermediate watching these guys on TV, so yeah that’s a bit crazy,” Hotham said.

“But you know, the more you train with hem, the more you get to hang out with the boys, having lunch, in the gym, you build those connections.”


Crusaders team to take on the Highlanders

  1. Joe Moody
  2. Codie Taylor
  3. Tamaiti Williams
  4. Scott Barrett (c)
  5. Sam Whitelock
  6. Ethan Blackadder
  7. Tom Christie
  8. Christian Lio-Willie
  9. Mitchell Drummond
  10. Richie Mo’unga
  11. Leicester Fainga’anuku
  12. David Havili
  13. Jack Goodhue
  14. Sevu Reece
  15. Fergus Burke



  1. Brodie McAlister
  2. George Bower
  3. Seb Calder
  4. Zach Gallagher
  5. Sione Havili Talitui
  6. Noah Hotham
  7. Braydon Ennor
  8. Macca Springer

press release/Crusaders


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RUGBYPASS+ 'Daring, gallus and honest, Stuart Hogg has defined a Scottish era' 'Daring, gallus and honest, Stuart Hogg has defined a Scottish era'