Crusaders missing Carter and Dagg

Date published: February 26 2015

The Crusaders will face the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday without All Blacks Dan Carter and Israel Dagg, who have both been ruled out through injury.

There are three changes to the starting line-up that beat the Highlanders last week.

In the front row, Nepo Laulala comes into the starting fifteen with Owen Franks suspended for two weeks. Alex Hodgman will join Joe Moody as prop cover in the reserves.

Loose forwards Jordan Taufua and Luke Whitelock have switched positions, so that Taufua takes the starting spot against the Chiefs and Whitelock takes a seat on the bench.

The final change is at full-back, which sees Tom Taylor pulling on the 15 jersey to give Dagg more time to recover from a quad strain.

There is some good news with Andy Ellis set to make his return to Super Rugby if he gets a run off the bench on Saturday.

32-year-old Carter  missed last weekend's clash with a lower leg injury sustained in the opening round loss to the Rebels and only played a limited part in training earlier this week.

"It's a day by day (situation)," assistant coach Tabai Matson said earlier this week.

<b>Crusaders:</b> 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett. <br><b>Replacements:</b> 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Alex Hodgman, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Nathaniel Apa, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

<b>Date:</b> Saturday, 28 February <br><b>Venue:</b>  Waikato Stadium <br><b>Kick-off:</b>  19:35 local (06.35 GMT) <br><b>Referee:</b> Mike Fraser (New Zealand) <br><b>Assistant referees:</b> Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand) <br><b>Television match official: </b> Ben Skeen (New Zealand)