Crusaders lose captain Whitelock to concussion
Cape Town - The Crusaders were dealt a blow ahead of Saturday's clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin when their captain, Sam Whitelock, was ruled out due to concussion.
There were concerns earlier in the week about Whitelock's availability for the derby after he failed a head injury assessment test in the Crusaders' 29-19 defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington last weekend.
But, after initially recovering well, he developed minor concussion symptoms on Thursday and could not complete the Post-Concussion Return to Play process.
Whitelock will be replaced by fellow All Black Luke Romano in the Crusaders' starting line-up with Quinten Strange taking Romano's place on the replacements bench while Matt Todd will captain the side.
There is another change on the bench, with veteran fly-half Mike Delany ruled out after injuring his knee at training. He will be replaced by Brett Cameron on the bench.
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Luke Romano, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Manasa Mataele