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Crusaders make seven changes for Blues

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Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named a team with made changes to the starting side that beat the Reds for this weekend’s match against the Blues at AMI Stadium.

Owen Franks returns to the 3 jersey, while Jordan Taufua and Jed Brown join Whetu Douglas in the loose forward trio.

Wyatt Crockett and returns to play this week off the bench, providing prop cover alongside Michael Alaalatoa.  Pete Samu provides loose forward cover, and Sean Wainui will cover the backs.

Bryn Hall will start at halfback this week against his former team, with Mitchell Drummond on the bench.  Manasa Mataele will make his Super Rugby debut, replacing his injured uncle Seta Tamanivalu at 14.

George Bridge takes the other wing, with Digby Ioane also ruled out after breaking a finger at training.  David Havili steps into fullback, with Israel Dagg out of contention after injuring his knee.

New Zealand teams are celebrating that rugby is a game for everyone in this round, and players will be wearing different coloured laces to illustrate the point.

Crusaders players are sharing their multi-coloured laces with girls from the West Melton, West Rolleston, Broadfield and Clearview Under 10s teams, who will play the curtain raisers on Friday night.

They will also take laces to various schools around Christchurch on Thursday, and share some messages with the students about what the ‘Rugby for Everyone’ round represents.

Crusaders: 

15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Jed Brown, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui

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