Crusaders without All Blacks front-rowers for Blues clash

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Thursday, 12 July 2018, 7:10PM
The Crusaders will be down some key players when they face the Blues this weekend. (Photo / NZ Herald)

LISTEN TO SCOTT ROBERTSON TALK WITH CRAIG CUMMING ABOVE

The Crusaders will be without All Blacks front rowers Joe Moody, Owen Franks and Codie Taylor for their match against the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday.

Moody injured a knee and an ankle in the win over the Highlanders last weekend and was never a chance to play, but prop Franks and hooker Taylor have been rested before next weekend's quarter-final at their fortress.

All Blacks lock Scott Barrett is also rested, but skipper Sam Whitelock will play, as will No8 Kieran Read, who made his return to the Crusaders from back surgery in their big win over the Highlanders last weekend.

Fullback David Havili has also been rested, with Israel Dagg - not considered last weekend despite being fit - making his long-awaited return. In total, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made six changes to the starting team who beat the Highlanders 45-22.

The Crusaders still feature a strong backline, including first-five Richie Mo'unga, sound midfield pairing Ryan Crotty and Jack Goodue, and wings George Bridge and Seta Tamanivalu.

Otago hooker Sam Anderson-Heather has been named on the reserves bench and could make his Crusaders debut.

Further south, the Highlanders will also be without a host of All Blacks, with Ben Smith, Aaron Smith and Luke Whitelock being rested, as per the agreement between the All Blacks and the New Zealand Super Rugby franchises

Loose forward Elliot Dixon, midfielder Rob Thompson and hooker Ash Dixon have been left out of the squad as well.

Crusaders team to play the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday, kick-off 7.35pm is: 
Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock, Quinten Strange, Michael Alaalatoa, Andrew Makalio, Tim Perry.

Reserves: Sam Anderson-Heather, Wyatt Crockett, Donald Brighouse, Luke Romano, Pete Samu, Bryn Hall, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele.

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