Crusaders keep winning formula
Crusaders keep winning formulaSHARE
The seven-time champion Crusaders have matched the Waratahs by naming an unchanged line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby Final in Sydney.
All Black flyhalf Dan Carter will again play at inside centre, ceding the No.10 jersey to Colin Slade – as the Crusaders retain the combination that beat the Sharks 38-6 in last weekend's semifinals.
Kieran Read will captain the Crusaders from No.8, while All Black captain Richie McCaw will start at blindside flank, allowing Matt Todd to continue on the openside.
Only two members of the starting line-up -wings Kieron Fonotia and Fiji international Nemani Nadolo – have not played for the All Blacks.
The teams did not meet during the regular season, but clashed in the 2008 Final, won by the Crusaders.
The Waratahs are looking for their first Super Rugby title.
"There is an unknown element, given that we haven't played the Waratahs so far this year, but that goes for both teams," Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said.
"We are just focused on being as prepared as we can be to put in the best performance we're capable of.
"We know we have the game of our lives ahead of us but are not daunted by the challenge, we are looking forward to it.
"We've got a group of men who want this badly and who have the talent to do it."
* The Waratahs will have the backing of a Super Rugby record crowd on Saturday.
After 19 years of waiting, New South Wales fans have leapt at the chance to be part of history and cheer their state to its first ever Super Rugby title.
The 2014 Final is set to become one of the biggest sporting events in Sydney this year.
With over 50,000 tickets already taken and three days of sales remaining, the Waratahs are confident of surpassing the previous record crowd of 55,000 set in the 2009 Final in Pretoria, South Africa.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.
Date: Saturday, August 2
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (09.40 GMT, 21.40 NZT, 11.40 SAST)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)