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Sam Whitelock returns as Crusaders name team for Waratahs clash

By Finn Morton
Whitelock running out for his beloved Crusaders but he is unsure what the future holds in 2024 (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

All Blacks centurion Sam Whitelock is set to lace up the boots for the first time in a month when the Crusaders take on the Waratahs in Christchurch on Saturday.


Following a few weeks on the sidelines with an injury, Whitelock is set to play his first game for the Crusaders since the title holders were beaten by the ladder-leading Chiefs last month.

Whitelock will line-up in the second row alongside Quinten Strange, while usual captain Scott Barrett takes a rest week as per the All Blacks’ policy.

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Hooker Codie Taylor will lead the team in round 14, and will pack down in the front row alongside Kershawl Sykes-Martin and Tamaiti Williams.

Christian Lio-Willie, Tom Christie and Cullen Grace make up the loose forward trio this week.

As for the backline, coach Scott Robertson has named the experienced halves duo of Mitchell Drummond and Richie Mo’unga. The pair will look to unleash an exciting backline this weekend.

Vice-captain David Havili will combine with Braydon Ennor in the midfield, while Leicester Fainga’anuku and Dallas McLeod take their spots on the wings.



Fergus Burke has shifted from flyhalf back to fullback.

The match between the Crusaders and Waratahs – two traditional Super Rugby rivals – is set to get underway at 4.35pm on Saturday at Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium.

Crusaders team to take on the Waratahs

  1. Kershawl Sykes-Martin
  2. Codie Taylor (c)
  3. Tamaiti Williams
  4. Quinten Strange
  5. Sam Whitelock
  6. Christian Lio-Willie
  7. Tom Christie
  8. Cullen Grace
  9. Mitchell Drummond
  10. Richie Mo’unga
  11. Leicester Fainga’anuku
  12. David Havili (vc)
  13. Braydon Ennor
  14. Dallas McLeod
  15. Fergus Burke


  1. Brodie McAlister
  2. Seb Calder
  3. Reuben O’Neill
  4. Zach Gallagher
  5. Sione Havili Talitui
  6. Noah Hotham
  7. Chay Fihaki
  8. Wil Gualter


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