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    Injury-stricken Crusaders forced into changes

    2017-03-15 10:53

    Christchurch - Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has made seven changes to the starting XV that beat the Reds last week for their clash with the Blues.

    All Black Owen Franks returns to the tighthead prop jersey, while Jordan Taufua and Jed Brown join Whetu Douglas in the loose forward trio.

    Bryn Hall will start at scrumhalf this week against his former team, with Mitchell Drummond on the bench.

    Manasa Mataele will make his Super Rugby debut, replacing his injured uncle Seta Tamanivalu at 14.

    George Bridge takes the other wing, with Digby Ioane also ruled out after injuring a finger. David Havili steps into fullback, with Israel Dagg out of contention after injuring his knee.

    Wyatt Crockett and returns to play this week off the bench, providing prop cover alongside Michael Alaalatoa. Pete Samu provides loose forward cover, and Sean Wainui will cover the backs.

    Teams

    Crusaders

    15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10  Mitchell Hunt, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Jed Brown, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

    Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui

    Blues

    15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Piers Francis, 9 9Augustine Pulu, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5  Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu

    Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TJ Faiane

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