Crusaders bring in big guns
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to the starting XV that played the Force for Saturday’s derby against the Highlanders in Christchurch.
Sam Whitelock returns to the run-on side, as does flank Matt Todd. In the backline, wing Zac Guildford takes the No.11 jersey, moving Adam Whitelock to the bench.
"The team are excited to be home again and playing at AMI Stadium. We've been travelling for three weeks and there is nothing like hearing the roar of the home crowd. We hope Crusader fans will give the boys a home-coming to remember," said Blackadder.
“There is nothing like a classic Southern derby to bring out the best in both the Crusaders and the Highlanders. It is always a great game with an amazing atmosphere and with both teams hungry for the win there is sure to be plenty of passion on the field this Saturday,” he added.
The game will mark a special occasion for lock Sam Whitelock, who will be playing his 50th Super Rugby game for the Crusaders. His brother Adam will also mark his 50th cap if he makes the field. All four Whitelock brothers are named in the matchday 22 this weekend, as is cousin Ben Funnell and Tom Taylor.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Date: Saturday, April 20
Venue: AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)