Crusaders ready for Highlanders

Sam Whitelock will lead the Crusaders in their pre-season match against Super Rugby champions, the Highlanders, on Thursday.

After a pleasing 31-3 win against the Reds this past weekend, the Crusaders will be looking to continue building momentum before their Super Rugby opener against the Chiefs on 27 February.

Wyatt Crockett and Andy Ellis are two of the new faces in this week's squad, and coach Todd Blackadder said the pre-season was about testing a number of combinations.

'We were really pleased with some of what we saw on Saturday night in Brisbane, especially considering it was only game one for so many players. It was really pleasing to see some of the new, young players really step up and also to see some of our more experienced players showing leadership and making an impact in their own areas.

'I'm looking forward to having another look at some of those players and combinations this week, and also to trying out some new combinations.'

Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 George Bridge. 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Sione Fifita, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Samuel Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Mike Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: Ged Robinson, Wyatt Crockett, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Mitchell Dunshea, Reed Prinsep, Leon Fukofuka, Ben Volavola, Marty McKenzie, Jone Macilai, Mitchell Hunt, Nemani Nadolo.
Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis