Crusaders to play the Highlanders




Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has made just one change to his team to face the Highlanders this Saturday night.

Lock Sam Whitelock, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s team, has returned to the starting line-up, which means Jimmy Tupou is on the bench.  The rest of the line-up is the same as that which beat the Blues last weekend.

Eighteen weeks of competition culminate in this southern derby on Saturday night.  It is the final round of pool play and will determine log placings and qualifiers for the play-off rounds.  While the Crusaders are already guaranteed a play-off spot, they are also working towards a second place qualification that would see them proceed directly to a home semi-final.

“That will require us to beat the Highlanders and beat them well,” Blackadder said.  “The Highlanders are also a gutsy side though and we know that they will be putting everything they’ve got into this encounter.  We are going to have to put in the performance of the season to come out on top, and that is exactly what the team has committed to doing.”

Kick-off is at 7:35pm Saturday at AMI Stadium (Addington).

Crusaders team to play the Highlanders:


  1. Wyatt Crockett
  1. Ben Funnell
16. Corey Flynn
  1. Owen Franks
17. Joe Moody
  1. Dominic Bird
18. Nepo Laulala
  1. Samuel Whitelock
19. Jimmy Tupou
  1. Jordan Taufua
20. Luke Whitelock
  1. Matt Todd
21. Willi Heinz
  1. Kieran Read (C)
22. Tom Taylor
  1. Andy Ellis
23. Johnny McNicholl
  1. Colin Slade
  1. Nemani Nadolo
  1. Dan Carter
  1. Ryan Crotty (VC)
  1. Kieron Fonotia
  1. Israel Dagg
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