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Whitelock captains Crusaders against Chiefs

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17: Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders (C) and his teammates look dejected during the round four Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Blues at AMI Stadium on March 17, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Crusaders Super Rugby head coach Scott Robertson has named his team to kick off their Super Rugby title defence in Christchurch against the Chiefs with Sam Whitelock as captain.

Robertson has named a strong starting fifteen for the New Zealand derby match, including nine All Blacks with 281 test caps between them, led by captain Sam Whitelock and vice-captains Matt Todd and Ryan Crotty.


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There are just two changes from the side that played their final pre-season match against the Highlanders in Waimumu last Thursday.

Luke Romano joins the starting line up this week, and will lead the team to field for what will be his 100th match for the Crusaders.

Scott Barrett will provide locking cover on the bench. In the backs, George Bridge will start on the left wing, having spent some time at fullback during the pre-season.

Billy Harmon could be set to earn his first Super Rugby cap on Saturday night, if called upon in the reserves.

The 23 year-old loose forward, who has 20 provincial caps for Canterbury to his name, will take a spot on the bench. Another familiar face returns to the match day 23 this week in former Crusaders and Highlanders prop, Chris King, who will wear the No. 17 jersey.

Crusaders

15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Peter Samu, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.

Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.