Crusaders get four All Blacks back for southern derby
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named his side for Saturday’s southern derby against the Highlanders, and it includes the return of four All Blacks.
Owen Franks, Matt Todd and George Bridge all return from rest weeks for this game, while Sam Whitelock will captain the side for the first time in 2019, returning to partner Scott Barrett at lock.
It’s a new starting front row for the Crusaders this week, with George Bower, fresh from his debut against the Chiefs, set to earn his first Super Rugby start. The hookers will swap for this game with Codie Taylor to wear the No.2 jersey and Andrew Makalio moving to the bench, while Franks’ return sees Michael Alaalatoa shift to the reserves.
This will be Owen Franks’ 150th game for the Crusaders (149th Super Rugby game) and he will lead the side out on to Forsyth Barr Stadium to mark the occasion.
The return of Todd is the only change to the loose forward trio this week.
In the back line, the scrumhalves swap for this game, so that Bryn Hall wears the No. 9 jersey and Ereatara Enari provides cover on the bench. George Bridge’s return sees Braydon Ennor shift to the right wing, and David Havili will start at fullback, in place of Will Jordan
Here’s our team for Saturday’s massive Southern Derby – and look who’s back!! If you can be in Dunedin to support the boys in the Battle of the Mainland, grab your tickets at https://t.co/etSfG7CILZ #HIGvCRU #likenoother #crusadeon pic.twitter.com/zpeC718mKY
— BNZ Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) March 14, 2019
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Braydon Ennor, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Will Jordan.
Date: Saturday, March 16
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)