Crusaders bring back big guns

Date published: March 12 2015

Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Nemani Nadolo will make their 2015 Super Rugby return when the Crusaders host the Lions in Christchurch on Saturday.  

They are among ten changes to the starting line-up that faced the Chiefs in Hamilton two weeks ago.

Read returns to his familiar role at number eigh and will captain the side. That sees Jordan Taufua move in on the blindside flank and Richie McCaw will wear the number seven jersey.

Whitelock will pair up with Luke Romano in the second row, and Scott Barrett will provide cover from the bench.

The other change in the forwards is Owen Franks’ return at prop after serving his two week suspension.

In the backs, Andy Ellis will take the starting scrum-half spot. Nadolo comes in at left wing, and Johnny McNicholl will wear the number 14 jersey.

Dan Carter returns from injury to play at inside centre, pushing Ryan Crotty out one place to outside centre.

David Havili is set to play his debut game for the Crusaders if he comes off the bench.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 David Havili.

Date: Saturday, March 14
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 16:30 local (03:30 GMT, 14:30 AEDT, 05:30 SAST)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)