The Crusaders have made one change to their team to play the Western Force with Kieran Read returning to play his first Super Rugby match for six weeks.
Read, who has fully recovered from both the concussion sustained in the Chiefs game and the cold that kept him out of contention last week, will captain the side and play at Number 8. That sees Luke Whitelock move to the bench.
There are no other changes to the team that beat the Highlanders in a southern derby thriller last Saturday night. This will be the Crusaders’ final home game before the June test window and Head Coach Todd Blackadder said the home crowd support is going to be more important than ever.
“We are up against another very tough team this week and this win is so important for both of us. So we need to make the most of every advantage we’ve got, and the home crowd is one of the big ones,” Blackadder said.
“The Crusaders supporters at AMI Stadium this season have been outstanding and we are determined to show our appreciation with a great performance on Friday night.”
1. Tim Perry , 2. Ben Funnell, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Dominic Bird, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Jordan Taufua, 7. Richie McCaw, 8. Kieran Read (C) , 9. Andy Ellis, 10.Colin Slade, 11.Nemani Nadolo, 12.Ryan Crotty (VC), 13.Tom Taylor, 14.Johnny McNicholl, 15.Israel Dagg
Replacements : 16. Corey Flynn,17. Wyatt Crockett,18. Owen Franks,19. Jimmy Tupou,20. Luke Whitelock,21. Willi Heinz,22. Adam Whitelock,23. Nafi Tuitavake