The Crusaders are in Johannesburg preparing to take on the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon.
In the forwards, Dominic Bird joins Samuel Whitelock at lock after Luke Romano was ruled out of contention with a calf injury sustained early in the Hurricanes match. Kieran Read is also unavailable for selection due to a head knock he received in the Hurricanes match, so Luke Whitelock will pull on the number eight jersey and George Whitelock comes in at number six.
Ryan Crotty will step up to the captaincy this week and also shifts from centre to second five. Two backline players will get their first starts of the season – Kieron Fonotia at centre and Nemani Nadolo on the wing.
Kick off at Ellis Park is at 3:05am (NZ time) on Sunday morning.
Crusaders team to play the Lions:
Wyatt Crockett, Ben Funnell, Owen Franks, Dominic Bird, Samuel Whitelock, George Whitelock (VC), Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Johnny McNicholl, Ryan Crotty (C), Kieron Fonotia, Nemani Nadolo, Israel Dagg
Corey Flynn, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Tyler Bleyendaal, Tom Taylo