Super Rugby Aotearoa

Crusaders make 5 changes for Highlanders clash

Head coach Scott Robertson speaks to his players during a Crusaders Super Rugby training session at Rugby Park on 3 June 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Head coach Scott Robertson speaks to his players during a Crusaders Super Rugby training session at Rugby Park on 3 June 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Kai Schwoerer

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made five changes for Saturday's Super Rugby Aotearoa encounter against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Kick-off is at 09:05 (SA time).

Register your interest for the British & Irish Lions tickets in South Africa 2021

The tight five remains unchanged, while there are two changes in the loose trio. Cullen Grace underwent surgery on Tuesday for a fracture at the base of his right thumb, which sees Ethan Blackadder start in his place. The 22-year-old Tom Christie also earns a start this week, coming in for Billy Harmon at openside flanker.

In the backline, Bryn Hall and George Bridge will be rested, meaning Mitch Drummond starts at scrumhalf and Leicester Faingaanuku on the left wing.

The other change is a positional one, with Will Jordan moving to right wing to make way for vice-captain David Havili, who slots in at fullback.

Exciting Tasman back, Fetuli Paea, is set to become Crusader number 245, having been named on the bench for what will be his first Super Rugby appearance. Also included on the bench is Oli Jager, who was a late withdrawal from the side last week with a back complaint and is now fully fit to return to the match-day squad.

Following their successful return from injury to play club rugby last week, Andrew Makalio and Quinten Strange have both been named on the bench for the first time in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

The Crusaders are unbeaten in the competition, having beaten the Hurricanes 39-25 in Wellington and the Chiefs 18-13 in Christchurch.

Teams:

Highlanders

15 Michael Collins, 14 Ngane Punivai, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Jeff Thwaites, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Vilimoni Koroi

Crusaders

15 David Havili, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Leicester Faingaanuku, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Fetuli Paea, 23 Sevu Reece