Super Rugby

Robertson makes seven Crusaders for the Force

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Christchurch based Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders have named a team with seven changes for Friday’s match against the Force.

Crusaders Super Rugby head coach Scott Robertson has made seven changes and a positional change to the starting fifteen that beat the Blues last Friday night.

Prop Wyatt Crockett and lock Luke Romano will make their first starts of the season, having made a huge impact off the bench in the previous games.

Tim Perry and Michael Alaalatoa will provide prop cover this week, and Mitchell Dunshea is primed for his Crusaders debut as lock/loose forward cover.

Scott Barrett shifts from lock to loose forward, filling the number 6 jersey. Matt Todd returns from his calf strain to play at 7, and Jordan Taufua shifts to number 8.

The halfbacks have rotated so that Mitchell Drummond gets the start this week and Bryn Hall takes a spot in the reserves.Tim Bateman steps in at centre, while Digby Ioane returns from a finger injury to play on the wing. Marty McKenzie and Manasa Mataele provide backs cover this week.

Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said he is expecting a tough challenge from the Force on Friday night: “They are fresh from a bye, which generally gives a team a bit of an edge, and our games against the Force have traditionally been really tight. ”

“We know we will need to be on form on Friday night but we are up for the challenge. The crowd support at our last home game was phenomenal and really gave the team a lift, so we can’t wait to get out in front of our supporters again this Friday.”

Crusaders

1. Wyatt Crockett , 2. Codie Taylor , 3. Owen Franks , 4. Luke Romano , 5. Sam Whitelock (C) , 6. Scott Barrett , 7. Matt Todd (VC) , 8. Jordan Taufua , 9. Mitchell Drummond , 10. Mitchell Hunt , 11. George Bridge , 12. Ryan Crotty (VC) , 13. Tim Bateman , 14. Digby Ioane , 15. David Havili

Replacements : 16. Ben Funnell , 17. Tim Perry , 18. Michael Alaalatoa , 19. Mitchell Dunshea , 20. Pete Samu , 21. Bryn Hall , 22. Marty McKenzie , 23. Manasa Mataele

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