PREVIEW: All Blacks dominate Crusaders and Highlanders clash

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:58
Large scott robertson celebrates 2017 800

SUPER RUGBY PRE-SEASON: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has included nine All Blacks in his starting XV for their final match of the pre-season Highlanders.

The 29-man squad, who will travel to Waimumu, will be captained by Sam Whitelock, while Matt Todd and Ryan Crotty have been named vice-captains.

2018 will be the third year the Crusaders and Highlanders have contested the Farmlands Cup.

In 2016, the inaugural match in Waimumu ended in a 19-all draw, while the Crusaders won last year's pre-season game in Darfield.

Highlanders also welcome back some All Blacks for the first time this season with Liam Squire, Luke Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo all named to start.

Liam Coltman will also play his first match since injuring his ankle in the 2017 quarterfinal against the Crusaders.

Head Coach Aaron Mauger appreciates the significance of the match "We are certainly approaching the game as our final dress rehearsal before our first round clash with the Blues. It’s a good opportunity to give a few guys some rugby who haven’t been involved in the field so far this preseason,"

The team has an experienced look to it with no debutants in the starting fifteen. The side will be co-captained by Ben Smith and Ash Dixon.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Braydon Ennor, 11 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Peter Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Chris King, Ben Funnell, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Quinten Strange, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Billy Harmon, Mitchell Drummond, Mithcel Hunt, Jone Macilai, Tim Bateman, Manasa Mataele, George Bridge.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Elliot Dixon, 22 Kayne Hammington, 23 Fletcher Smith, 24 Teihorangi Walden, 25 Tevita Nabura

Date: Thursday, February 15
Venue: Fred Booth Park, Waimumu
Kick-off: 18.00 (3.00 GMT)
Referee: TBC

 

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
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