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Savea questionable for Canes, Crusaders drop legend for...

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Savea questionable for Canes, Crusaders drop legend for Super semi-final

The Hurricanes have named an unchanged starting XV to head south for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final, while their opponent the Crusaders have made just one change for the AMI Stadium clash.

After defeating the Chiefs 32-31 in last week’s quarter-final, Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd decided against changing his winning combination as his side prepares to take on the defending champions.

The bench is also settled, although there is potential for one change with Ardie Savea bracketed with Reed Prinsep.

Savea has not played since he suffered a high ankle sprain in the All Blacks third test against France on June 23.

Boyd said Savea had worked extremely hard to return to the Hurricanes campaign and a decision on whether he would take his place in the matchday squad would be made later in the week.

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Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has also named his team for the match, with just one change from the starting XV that took the field against the Sharks in their quarter-final last weekend.

The Crusaders welcome back All Black Joe Moody to the starting side, who has recovered from injury to start at loosehead prop. Fellow All Blacks’ front-rower Tim Perry will provide cover on the bench, with Wyatt Crockett excluded from the 23.

Robertson said there is no shortage of excitement in camp in the build-up to this match.

“This game is going to be huge, it doesn’t get any bigger than a New Zealand derby match in the knockout stages of Super Rugby,” Robertson said.

“Everyone who has worn the jersey for us this season has performed so this was the hardest team to name because of the great depth we have in our squad. Joe has worked extremely hard to get back in time for Finals footy, and he joins a powerful forward pack, who are ready for the challenge on Saturday night.

“It’s always a privilege to play at home, but to host a semi-final in front of our fans adds another level of anticipation and pride to the mix. Our fans have been right behind us all season and we’re excited to once again play for them in this week’s semi-final.”

HURRICANES

1. Toby Smith, 2. Ricky Riccitelli, 3. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 4. Michael Fatialofa, 5. Sam Lousi, 6. Brad Shields (C), 7. Gareth Evans, 8. Blade Thomson, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Ben Lam, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Jordie Barrett, 14. Julian Savea, 15. Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Reserves: 16. James O’Reilly, 17. Chris Eves, 18. Ben May, 19. Vaea Fifita, 20. Ardie Savea/Reed Prinsep, 21. Jamie Booth, 22. Ihaia West, 23. Wes Goosen.

CRUSADERS

1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Scott Barrett, 5. Sam Whitelock (C), 6. Jordan Taufua, 7. Matt Todd (VC), 8. Kieran Read, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. George Bridge, 12. Ryan Crotty (VC), 13. Jack Goodhue, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 15. David Havili.
Reserves: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Tim Perry, 18. Michael Alaalatoa, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Braydon Ennor.

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Savea questionable for Canes, Crusaders drop legend for Super semi-final