Super Rugby

Dagg returns as Crusaders ring the changes for Sunwolves

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Crusaders Super rugby head coach Scott Robertson has included Super Rugby centurions Owen Franks and Israel Dagg in his team to play the Sunwolves.

Franks makes his return from an Achilles injury and joins Ben Funnell and Tim Perry as the starting front row. At lock, Scott Barrett and Quinten Strange earn starts this week, and Luke Romano will provide cover in the reserves. Regular captain Sam Whitelock will be rested this week, meaning flanker Matt Todd will take over the captaincy for this match.

In the back row, Tom Sanders shifts from the blindside to No. 8, making way for 23 year-old Ethan Blackadder to make his Investec Super Rugby debut in the No. 6 jersey on Saturday night.

Robertson has also reshuffled the back line, which sees Manasa Mataele shift from the right to left wing for this match. Dagg slots in on the right wing, having recovered from his knee injury, and George Bridge will move to the fullback position. Mitchell Drummond will start at halfback, and Mike Delany at first five-eighth, with Mitch Hunt to provide first-five cover for Delany on the bench.

In the reserves, halfback Jack Stratton could be set to make his Super Rugby debut on Saturday night, if called upon from the bench.

Crusaders

1. Tim Perry ,2. Ben Funnell ,3. Owen Franks ,4. Scott Barrett ,5. Quinten Strange ,6. Ethan Blackadder*,7. Matt Todd (C) ,8. Tom Sanders,9. Mitchell Drummond , 10. Mike Delany , 11. Manasa Mataele , 12. Ryan Crotty (VC) , 13. Tim Bateman , 14. Israel Dagg , 15. George Bridge

Replacements : 16. Andrew Makalio , 17. Wyatt Crockett,18. Chris King, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Jack Stratton*, 22. Mitchell Hunt , 23. Seta Tamanivalu

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