Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has made two changes to the starting fifteen that beat the Highlanders two weeks ago.
Richie McCaw has recovered from injury to return to the line-up and will play at number 6 on Saturday night. That sees Jordan Taufua move to the bench. Corey Flynn will take the starting hooker spot for his 150th Crusaders game, with Ben Funnell providing back-up from the bench.
The Crusaders qualified for this semi-final at home by finishing the regular season at second on the points table, while the Sharks beat the Highlanders in a quarter-final last weekend to qualify.
Blackadder said the team is preparing for it’s toughest game yet as both teams will be throwing everything they’ve got at it in their quest to make the Grand Final. “The Sharks have shown this season that they are an extremely classy outfit and a very difficult team to beat. This is our biggest challenge yet, but we feel ready for it.
“It is going to be awesome to play in front of a home crowd for this semi-final on Saturday night and the roar of the crowd may just be the extra boost that gets us across the line,” Blackadder said.
Tickets for the semi-final are still available through Ticket Direct – ticketdirect.co.nz, ph. 0800 224 224 – or visit one of the ticketing outlets at The Palms, Champions of the World South City, or The Warehouse (Barrington, Hornby, Northwood, Riccarton, South City, Timaru, Rangiora and Greymouth branches only).
Kick off at AMI Stadium (Addington) is at 7:35pm this Saturday night.
Crusaders team to play the Sharks:
|1. Wyatt Crockett||RESERVES:|
|2. Corey Flynn||16. Ben Funnell|
|3. Owen Franks||17. Joe Moody|
|4. Dominic Bird||18. Nepo Laulala|
|5. Samuel Whitelock||19. Jimmy Tupou|
|6. Richie McCaw||20. Jordan Taufua|
|7. Matt Todd||21. Willi Heinz|
|8. Kieran Read (C)||22. Tom Taylor|
|9. Andy Ellis||23. Johnny McNicholl|
|10. Colin Slade|
|11. Nemani Nadolo|
|12. Dan Carter|
|13. Ryan Crotty (VC)|
|14. Kieron Fonotia|
|15. Israel Dagg|