Crusaders face Chiefs without star prop
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Crusaders stalwart Sam Whitelock is set to become the seventh player to bring up his 150th game for the team, when he takes the field in Hamilton on Saturday.
Head coach Scott Robertson has named his side for the Round Eight match against the Chiefs, and Whitelock, now in his 11th Super Rugby season, has also been named vice-captain for his milestone match.
There are two changes in the forwards this week, with George Bower joining the starting side, and Isileli Tu’ungafasi providing cover at loosehead prop on the bench. Joe Moody will not travel to Hamilton with the side due to a family bereavement.
Flank Sione Havili joins the starting side in the No.6 jersey, with Tom Sanders shifting to No.8 in place of Whetukamokamo Douglas, who is recovering from a medial ligament injury.
There is just one further change in the backline this week, with Mitchell Drummond earning a start, and Bryn Hall named on the bench. Fetuli Paea will once again line up in the midfield alongside Jack Goodhue, with Braydon Ennor still recovering from the toe injury he sustained in the Blues game.
Robertson said: “First and foremost, the thoughts of the Crusaders team and our wider organisation are with Joe Moody and his family at this very sad time, and we’ll certainly be thinking of them when we take the field on Saturday night.
“As a group, we’re also really proud to be celebrating Sam’s 150-game milestone this week, he is such a quality leader and a massive contributor to our team. He’s a proud Crusader, and I know the side is keen to show him plenty of respect with our performance.
“We had a really honest review following the Hurricanes game, and identified areas we need to get better this week. We’re coming up against a Chiefs side who have only been beaten by the smallest of margins so far in this competition, and will be desperate for a win in front of their home fans.”
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Sione Havili, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
Date: Saturday, August 1
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (07.05 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referess: Paul Williams, Richard Kelly
TMO: Glenn Newman