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Scott Barrett returns for experimental Crusaders against Rebels

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Crusaders are continuing to experiment with their lineup this week as they host the fourth-place Rebels in Christchurch, but are boosted by the return of two of their most experienced players.

Captain Scott Barrett is back in his familiar No. 4 jersey, no doubt hoping to give his team the edge they’ve been lacking this year.

All Black David Havili has been named in the No. 22 jersey for the contest, having last played against the Blues in round five.

There’s a big change-up in the loose forwards, with Tom Christie absent from the team sheet, leaving Ethan Blackadder to shift to the openside flank and Cullen Grace moving to the blindside, allowing Christian Lio-Willie to retain the No. 8 jersey.

There’s a new starting halves combination too. Mitch Drummond is back in the No. 9 jersey with Rivez Reihana getting the starting nod at first five-eighth.

Young speedster Heremaia Murray lands himself a start on the left wing and Johnny McNicholl slots into fullback, moving Chay Fihaki to the bench.

Brodie McAlister retains his position in the starting unit and is joined by George Bower and Fletcher Newell, who provided impact off the bench last week.


Crusaders team to face the Rebels 


  1. George Bower
  2. Brodie McAlister
  3. Fletcher Newell
  4. Scott Barrett
  5. Quinten Strange
  6. Cullen Grace
  7. Ethan Blackadder
  8. Christian Lio-Willie
  9. Mitch Drummond
  10. Rivez Reihana
  11. Heremaia Murray
  12. Dallas McLeod
  13. Levi Aumua
  14. Sevu Reece
  15. Johnny McNicholl


16. George Bell
17. Joe Moody
18. Owen Franks
19. Jamie Hannah
20. Corey Kellow
21. Noah Hotham
22. David Havili
23. Chay Fihaki


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Diarmid 9 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

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