Crusaders captain Kieran Read has been named in the starting XV for his team's clash with the Force in Christchurch on Friday.
Crusaders captain Kieran Read has been named in the starting XV for his team's clash with the Western Force in Christchurch on Friday.
Read has been sidelined for six weeks after suffering from concussion sustained against the Chiefs in Round 10 and a cold that kept him out of contention for last weekend's 32-30 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin.
He returns to action at number eight at the expense of Luke Whitelock who drops down to the bench in place of his older brother, George.
Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder has surprised by retaining the front-row of Tim Perry, Ben Funnell and Nepo Laulala, who impressed in the victory against the Highlanders.
This means that the All Blacks trio of Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn and Owen Franks remain amongst the replacements.
The Crusaders are the New Zealand conference leaders and are third on the overall table, one place ahead of the Force.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Tom Taylor, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (capt), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Adam Whitelock, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Date: Friday, May 30
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 local (07.35 GMT, 08.35 BST)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Lash (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
Television match official: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)