Crusaders pack All Black power for Lions clash

Sam Whitelock (Gallo)
Sam Whitelock (Gallo)

Christchurch - The Crusaders have turned their clash with the British and Irish Lions on Saturday into a dress rehearsal for the All Blacks tight five ahead of the first Test.

The Super Rugby competition leaders have named an All Blacks frontrow with Joe Moody, Owen Franks and Codie Taylor, along with locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano.

They spearhead a squad containing nine All Blacks including a third prop, Wyatt Crockett, on the bench.

Israel Dagg, included in the 33-man New Zealand Test squad to face Samoa and the Lions announced on Thursday, will start at fullback.

Adding to the Crusaders depth is eight-Test flank Matt Todd, who is on standby as injury cover for the Lions series, and three-Test wing Seta Tamanivalu who missed the cut this year.

Coach Scott Robertson predicted a "fantastic clash".

"This is a huge and exciting challenge for us," he said.

"We are facing some of the best rugby players in the world, but we have some of the world's best in this team too, so it will be a fantastic clash.

"No matter how it unfolds, this will be a game that the players involved will remember as one of the special moments in their careers."

The only changes to the Crusaders team that maintained their unbeaten Super Rugby record last week against the Highlanders sees a rotation at halfback with Bryn Hall starting, a switch to inside centre for David Havili, Dagg at fullback, and Tim Bateman on the bench.

Teams:

Crusaders

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Tim Bateman

British & Irish Lions

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/SCO), 14 George North (Northampton/WAL), 13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/WAL), 12 Ben Te'o (Worcester/ENG), 11 Liam Williams (Scarlets/WAL), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens/ENG), 9 Conor Murray (Munster/IRE), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Bath/WAL), 7 Sean O'Brien (Leinster/IRE), 6 Peter O'Mahony (Munster/IRE), 5 George Kruis (Saracens/ENG), 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Ospreys/WAL), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/IRE), 2 Jamie George (Saracens/ENG), 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens/ENG)

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens (Scarlets/WAL), 17 Jack McGrath (Leinster/IRE), 18 Dan Cole (Leicester/ENG), 19 Maro Itoje (Saracens/ENG), 20 CJ Stander (Munster/IRE), 21 Rhys Webb (Ospreys/WAL), 22 Johnny Sexton (Leinster/IRE), 23 Anthony Watson (Bath/ENG)

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