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    Dagg dropped, Read returns

    2014-02-26 07:37
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    Cape Town - Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has dropped All Black fullback Israel Dagg from his starting team to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

    Dagg, wing Johnny McNicholl and flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal have all paid for error-ridden performances in the 18-10 loss to the Chiefs in Christchurch last Friday.

    McNicholl and Bleyendaal have dropped out of the 23-man squad, with Dagg getting a spot on the bench.

    Their places in the starting XV have gone to Rob Thompson, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor respectively.

    Thompson will be the 175th player to make his Crusaders debut, while Nafi Tuitavake will make just his second start on the other wing.

    Bleyendaal's dismal goal-kicking - he missed five penalty shots against the Chiefs - counted against him.

    Meanwhile, Kieran Read returns for his first start of the season to play at No 8 and captains the side.

    Richie McCaw and George Whitelock are the starting openside and blindside flankers, and Matt Todd will again provide support from the bench.

    Kick-off at Eden Park is at 08:35 (SA time) on Friday.

    Teams:

    Blues:

    TBA

    Crusaders:

    15 Colin Slade, 14 Rob Thompson, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Tim Perry.

    Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Adam Whitelock, 23 Israel Dagg

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    Fixtures

    25 April 2014
    • Blues v Waratahs, Auckland 07:35
    • Brumbies v Chiefs, Canberra 09:40
    • Sharks v Highlanders, Durban 19:10
    26 April 2014
    • Hurricanes v Reds, Wellington 09:35
    • Western Force v Bulls, Perth 11:40
    • Cheetahs v Stormers, Bloemfontein 17:05
    02 May 2014
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    • Melbourne Rebels v Sharks, Melbourne 11:40

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