Coach Scott Robertson has made three changes to the Crusaders’ starting lineup for Friday’s quarter-final against the Highlanders in Christchurch.
The defending champions have been boosted by the return of tighthead prop Owen Franks and hooker Codie Taylor, who has recovered from a torn shoulder injury and a broken finger, respectively.
It’ll be the first time this season that the Crusaders field an All Blacks front row, with Franks and Codie Taylor replacing Michael Alaalatoa and Andrew Makalio.
In the backline, Braydon Ennor, who scored a hat-trick in the Crusaders’ last round-robin game against the Rebels a fortnight ago, makes way for George Bridge to return to the starting XV.
In the only other changes to the match 23, Mitch Drummond and Mitch Hunt return to the bench.
Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Samuel Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images