Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named a 30-strong squad to play the Highlanders in a Super Rugby warm up and has included a number of players who have never played in a Super Rugby level game.
The Crusaders will head to Motueka tomorrow morning to prepare for their pre-season match against the Highlanders on Friday evening. They will also take the opportunity to connect with some of their Tasman supporters while they are there.
"This is a great chance for some of our newer players and wider training group to get a run against another Super Rugby team. There are also some of our most experienced players in the squad though so we will certainly be looking to be competitive on Friday and give our Tasman supporters something to cheer for," Blackadder said.
The Crusaders arrive in Motueka on Thursday morning and will be visiting the Te Awhina Marae at 11am to mark Waitangi Day and meet some of the local community. Some members of the squad will then go over to Kaiteriteri on Thursday evening for a beach BBQ to mix with locals and holidaymakers there.
On Friday morning, the players not required for the game will be running a 'Crusaders Pit-stop' on Main Road Riwaka (outside the Riwaka Hotel), where they will be offering refreshments, window cleaning and autographs to passing motorists in return for donations that will go towards junior rugby in the area.
The Super Rugby warm up match kicks off at 5:30pm at the Motueka Sports Ground, and the game will be played in 20 minute quarters with 2 minute water breaks and a 10 minute halftime.
1 . Tim Perry , 2 . Ben Funnell , 3 . Nepo Laulala , 4 . Luke Romano , 5 . Dominic Bird , 6 . George Whitelock , 7 . Jed Brown , 8 . Jordan Taufua , 9 . Andy Ellis , 10 . Tyler Bleyendaal , 11 . Nafi Tuitavake , 12 . Ryan Crotty (Captain) , 13 . Reynold Lee-Lo , 14 . Rob Thompson , 15 . Israel Dagg
Replacements : 16 . Codie Taylor , 17 . Wyatt Crockett , 18 . Owen Franks , 19 . Joel Everson , 20 . Matt Todd , 21 . Willi Heinz , 22 . Colin Slade , 23 . Kieron Fonotia , Samuel Whitelock , Tom Taylor , Adam Whitelock , Zac Guildford , Mitchell Drummond , Corey Flynn , Daniel Lienert Brown