Christchurch - All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter starts at inside centre for the first
time in seven years when the Crusaders take on the unbeaten Stormers
in a round-eight Super Rugby clash in Christchurch on Saturday.
Carter last started in the No 12 jersey outside Andrew
Mehrtens against the Waratahs in Sydney in 2005, but says he envisages
no transitional problems shifting out from his usual five-eighth spot.
Rookie Tom Taylor will wear the No 10 jersey and assume
goal-kicking responsibilities after Carter, recently back after a long
lay-off with a groin injury, missed three penalty goals in the
two-point loss to the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.
Playing two specialist five-eighths will give the
Crusaders left-foot (Carter) and right-foot (Taylor) kicking options,
while Carter's midfield presence will also shore up a defence which
will need to be at its best to contain the forceful Stormers pairing of
Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh.
"They are both great ball carriers, so it's really important that defensively we are on our game," Carter said.
"They've shown what a great defensive side they are so,
when they do get opportunities with ball in hand, we've got to make
sure our defence is sound as well."
Carter says he's happy to hand over goalkicking duties to Taylor while he works on strengthening his groin.
"Each week, it's feeling a bit better, but the groin is
still a little tight. Tom is an excellent goalkicker and it gives me a
little more time to rehab the groin and get some power and strength
Coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to the team
who lost to the Bulls. Ben Franks comes into the front row for his
propping brother, Owen, and the taller Tom Donnelly gets the nod over
Luke Romano at lock.
Taylor's selection is at the expense of Ryan Crotty.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee wants his team to lift
their effort at the set piece and breakdowns against the seven-time
champions, who are six places and nine points behind the visiting South
"They've got a quality tight five and are technically sound in all departments," Coetzee said.
The Stormers have a dismal record against the Crusaders,
with only four wins in 17 matches. The Crusaders have won five of the
past six including two wins in Cape Town last year, the second being
29-10 in the semi-final.
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie
Fruean, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8
Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Tom
Donnelly, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Tom MarshallStormers:
15 Johan Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13
Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter
Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya
Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan
Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Deon
Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gio Aplon