Laulala replaces suspended Franks

The Crusaders have made three changes to their starting lineup for Saturday's match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

In the front row, Nepo Laulala will wear the No 3 jersey after Owen Franks was suspended for two weeks, while Alex Hodgman will join Joe Moody as prop cover in the reserves.

Loose forwards Jordan Taufua and Luke Whitelock have switched positions, so that Taufua takes the starting spot against the Chiefs and Whitelock takes a seat on the bench.

The final change is at fullback, which sees Tom Taylor pulling on the 15 jersey to give Israel Dagg more time to recover from a quad strain.

Halfback Andy Ellis is set to make his return to Vodacom Super Rugby if he gets a run off the bench on Saturday night.

Flyhalf Dan Carter (lower right leg) is still injured, while wing Nemani Nadolo, who returned from playing for the NEC Green Rockets in Japan last week, will be eased back via the Crusaders Knights development team.

Crusaders – 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Alex Hodgman, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Nathaniel Apa, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Photo: Nepo Laulala/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt