Super rugby Aotearoa

Crusaders make six changes for Highlanders

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Crusaders Super Rugby head coach Scott Robertson has named a team with five changes and one positional change to play the Highlanders on Saturday at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Will Jordan moves to the right-wing this week to make way for vice-captain, David Havili, to slot in at fullback.

The Crusaders tight five remains unchanged for this game, while there are two changes in the loose forwards.

Cullen Grace underwent surgery on Tuesday for a fracture at the base of his right thumb, which sees Ethan Blackadder start in his place.

Twenty-two-year-old Tom Christie also earns a start this week for Billy Harmon at openside flanker.

In the backs, Bryn Hall and George Bridge will be rested, meaning Mitch Drummond starts at halfback and Leicester Faingaanuku on the left-wing.

Exciting Tasman back, Fetuli Paea, is set to become Crusader #245 on Saturday, having been named on the bench for what will be his first Super Rugby appearance.

Also included in the reserves is Oli Jager, who was a late withdrawal from the side last week with a back complaint and is now fully fit to return to the 23.

Following the players’ successful return from injury to play club rugby last week, Andrew Makalio and Quinten Strange have both been named in the reserves for the first time in Super Rugby Aotearoa, and make a welcome return to face the Highlanders.

Crusaders

15 David Havili, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Leicester Faingaanuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (captain), 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Fetuli Paea (debut), 23 Sevu Reece

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