Big name return for Crusaders
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has made several changes to his side to face the Hurricanes in Wellington on Sunday.
Loosehead prop, Joe Moody, will lead the team out in what will be his 100th appearance for the club, becoming the 19th Crusader to notch up this milestone. He’ll be joined by Codie Taylor and Oliver Jager who complete the starting front row this week; Michael Alaalatoa will provide tighthead cover in the reserves.
In the loose forwards, in-form Ethan Blackadder will sit out this weekend’s match with a neck injury. The 26-year-old will be rested against the Hurricanes but is expected to be available next week.
Whetukamokamo Douglas will replace Blackadder at blindside flank, and Tom Sanders makes his return from injury to take a spot on the bench.
In the backs, both Bryn Hall and Sevu Reece return to the starting side. The return of Reece sees George Bridge move back to his familiar spot on the left wing, and Leicester Fainga’anuku will provide impact from the bench.
The final change sees Dallas McLeod join the matchday side, in place of Fergus Burke.
Moody will honour his late father, Tony, at his milestone match this weekend, by auctioning his 100-game jersey to raise funds for Prostate Cancer Foundation New Zealand.
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Oliver Jager, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 George Bower, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
Date: Sunday, April 11
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 15.35 (03.35 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Glenn Newman