Luke Romano hits 100 for Crusaders
Cape Town - Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named a strong
starting XV for their Super Rugby opener with the Chiefs in Christchurch
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.
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
Kick-off is at 08:35 SA time.
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
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