Super Rugby: Crusaders v Waratahs at AMI Stadium in Christchurch
Last Updated: 31/05/13 12:12pm
Todd Blackadder: Three changes for Crusaders
Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder has made three changes to his starting XV for Friday's clash with the Waratahs in Christchurch.
Corey Flynn returns from an injury to his hamstring to take the number two jersey, moving Ben Funnell to the bench.
A fractured finger for Sam Whitelock gives Dominic Bird the opportunity to start alongside Luke Romano while Jimmy Tupou comes onto the bench.
In the backs the jostle for the scrum-half position sees Willi Heinz make the starting fifteen and Andy Ellis move to the bench, while centre Robbie Fruean has again been named amongst the replacements, with Tom Taylor and Ryan Crotty making up the midfield.
The international shadow looming over Super Rugby right now is much larger in Australia with the Lions currently en route Down Under via Hong Kong.
Wallaby squad members such as Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Sitaleki Timani, Berrick Barnes, Sekope Kepu and Benn Robinson know that places are up for grabs ahead of the series. Next week's Force trip could be their final chance to shine.
One player who won't be in attendance this week - which gives Ben Mowen a lift in terms of Test selection - is Wycliff Palu so Dave Dennis is at eight. Pat McCutcheon subsequently comes into the side on the blindside while the in-form Cam Crawford returns on the wing.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Jimmy Tupou, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Robbie Fruean, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Pat McCutcheon, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Will Skelton, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Drew Mitchell.
Super Rugby 2013 Round 16
The Bulls opened an eight-point gap at the top of the South African conference with a 30-25 victory over the Cheetahs.
The Reds kept their play-off hopes alive with a hard-fought 33-20 win over the Rebels in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Highlanders ran in four first-half tries tries before holding on to secure a 38-28 victory over the Blues.