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Crusaders lose trio for crucial Hurricanes Super Rugby clash

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The Crusaders will be without All Blacks Sam Whitelock and Ryan Crotty and Tim Perry for the top of the table clash against the Hurricanes on Friday.

The winner of this week’s Super rugby match is expected to top the Super Rugby standings and could go a long way in determining the make up of the finals.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made three changes from the side that defeated the Blues at Eden Park last weekend, including two changes in the forwards and one in the backs.

In the front row, Tim Perry has been ruled out due to a hamstring strain suffered at the All Blacks camp on Tuesday and Wyatt Crockett will start at loosehead prop.

On the opposite side of the scrum, Michael Alaalatoa steps in to the starting team at tighthead prop.

The only change in the backline sees experienced midfielder Tim Bateman line up at second five-eighth in place of Ryan Crotty, who is unavailable this week due to concussion. Bateman will also be Vice-Captain of the side on Friday night, alongside hooker Codie Taylor.

Matt Todd has again been named Captain this week, with Sam Whitelock also unavailable due to concussion symptoms.

There is good news in the reserves, with Luke Romano returning from injury to provide cover at lock. Chris King and Donald Brighouse come in to the match day side as prop cover, and Braydon Ennor will wear the No. 23 jersey in place of the injured Manasa Mataele.

Robertson said there was plenty of energy among the group in the lead up to Friday night’s clash: “We coach and play for these big games and it doesn’t get much bigger than hosting the Hurricanes at home for a spot at the top of the New Zealand conference.

“The boys have worked through their individual preparation well this week and our All Blacks joined us again this morning and brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm, so there is no shortage of motivation for this match and it’s going to be a great spectacle for fans on Friday night,” Robertson said.

Crusaders

1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Codie Taylor (VC) , 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4. Scott Barrett , 5. Quinten Strange , 6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis , 7. Matt Todd (C) , 8. Jordan Taufua , 9. Bryn Hall , 10. Richie Mo’unga , 11. George Bridge , 12. Tim Bateman (VC) , 13. Jack Goodhue , 14. Seta Tamanivalu , 15. David Havili

Replacements : 16. Andrew Makalio ,17. Chris King,18. Dinald Brighouse,19. Luke Romano,20. Pete Samu,21. Mitchell Drummond ,22. Mitchell Hunt,23. Braydon Ennor

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