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    Luke Romano hits 100 for Crusaders

    2018-02-22 08:13

    Cape Town - Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named a strong starting XV for their Super Rugby opener with the Chiefs in Christchurch on Saturday.

    The defending champions' run-on side includes nine All Blacks with 281 Test caps between them, led by captain Sam Whitelock and vice-captains Matt Todd and Ryan Crotty.

    There are just two changes from the side that played their final pre-season match against the Highlanders in Waimumu last Thursday.

    Luke Romano joins the starting line-up this week, and will lead the team to field for what will be his 100th match for the Crusaders. 

    Scott Barrett will provide locking cover on the bench. In the backs, George Bridge will start on the left wing, having spent some time at fullback during the pre-season. 

    Billy Harmon could be set to earn his first Super Rugby cap on Saturday night, if called upon in the reserves. The 23-year-old loose forward, who has 20 provincial caps for Canterbury to his name, will take a spot on the bench. 

    Another familiar face returns to the matchday 23 this week in former Crusaders and Highlanders prop, Chris King, who will wear the No 17 jersey.

    Kick-off is at 08:35 SA time.

    Teams:

    Crusaders

    15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett 

    Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele 

    Chiefs

    15 Charlie Ngatai (co-captain), 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2  Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross

    Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta'avo, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui

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