Heiden Bedwell-Curtis will start at blindside flank in the only change to the Crusaders’ starting XV for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Lions in Christchurch.
The 27-year-old, who wasn’t contracted to the Crusaders at the beginning of the year and only came into the squad as injury cover, replaces the injured Jordan Taufua, who broke his arm in the 30-12 semi-final victory over the Hurricanes. Wallaby Pete Samu has been named on the bench.
‘Heiden has been extraordinary every time he has played for us, he has been extremely capable and it is probably more that Pete is exceptional off the bench,’ said coach Scott Robertson. ‘He can change the pace of the game up, it is a real strength of his.’
Meanwhile, prop Wyatt Crockett, who will retire after this Super Rugby season having earned 202 Super Rugby caps, has been left out of the match 23.
‘It was the hardest decision I have had to make as a coach, I will be honest with you,’ Robertson said. ‘Great man, great Crusader. Highest capped and given more to this team than anyone else. We want to send him out the way he should be sent out, and we promised we would. Which is as he started, with real pride.’
Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Sam Anderson-Heather/Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.
Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images