New-look Crusaders to face Highlanders

Date published: July 2 2020

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has made five changes and a positional switch to his team for Saturday’s clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

In the backline, Will Jordan moves to the right wing this week to make way for vice-captain David Havili, who slots in at full-back.

Meanwhile, Bryn Hall and George Bridge will be rested, meaning Mitch Drummond starts at scrum-half and Leicester Faingaanuku on the left wing.

The tight five remains unchanged for this game, while there are two changes in the loose forwards. Cullen Grace underwent surgery on Tuesday for a fracture at the base of his right thumb, which sees Ethan Blackadder start in his place.

22-year-old Tom Christie also earns a start this week, coming in for Billy Harmon at openside flanker.

Exciting Tasman back, Fetuli Paea, is set to become Crusader number 245 on Saturday night, having been named on the bench for what will be his first Super Rugby appearance.

Also included in the reserves 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 matchday 23.

Following their successful return from injury to play club rugby last week, Andrew Makalio and Quinten Strange have both been named in the reserves for the first time in Super Rugby Aotearoa, and make a welcome return to face the Highlanders.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Leicester Faingaanuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (c), 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Ereatara Enari, 22 Fetuli Paea, 23 Sevu Reece

Date: Saturday, July 4
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19:05 local (08:05 BST, 07:05 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Paul Williams
TMO: Chris Hart