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Read starts for Crusaders against Sunwolves

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Crusaders head coach Scott Robinson has for the first time this season included All Black captain Kieran Read in his team to play the Sunwolves.

The match will be the Crusaders first ever match against the Sunwolves and will also see prop Wyatt Crockett set a new record for the most Super Rugby appearances by any player.

Head Coach Scott Robertson has made a raft of changes to the side that beat the Waratahs a fortnight ago, with just five players in the 23 remaining in the same position.

Captain Sam Whitelock and vice-captain Matt Todd retain their spots at lock and loose forward; Mitchell Drummond starts again at halfback; and utitlity backs David Havili and Marty McKenzie will again wear the 15 and 22 jerseys respectively.

Kieran Read will make his first appearance of the 2017 season, having recovered from wrist surgery to take the Number 8 spot.  First five Richie Mo’unga also returns for the first time since round one, when he fractured a bone in his hand.

Two other players returning from recent injury are Jack Goodhue, who will start at centre, and Seta Tamanivalu who will play on the opposite wing to his nephew Manasa Mataele for the first time.

Two Tasman players are set to debut off the bench for the Crusaders this weekend – Andrew Makalio at hooker and Quinten Strange at lock.

Crusaders

1. Wyatt Crockett ,2.  Ben Funnell,3.  Michael Alaalatoa,4.  Luke Romano ,5.  Sam Whitelock (C),6.  Pete Samu,7.  Matt Todd (VC),8.  Kieran Read,9.  Mitchell Drummond ,10.Richie Mo’unga,11. Manasa Mataele,12. Tim Bateman ,13. Jack Goodhue,14. Seta Tamanivalu,15. David Havili

Replacements : 16. Andrew Makalio ,17. Joe Moody ,18. Oliver Jager,19. Quinten Strange ,20. Whetu Douglas ,21. Leon Fukofuka,22. Marty McKenzie ,23. George Bridge

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