New captain & six Crusaders changes for Lions clash

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has made six changes to the team that lost to the Hurricanes in Christchurch for this week’s Super Rugby clash with the Lions in Johannesburg.

In the forwards, Dominic Bird joins Samuel Whitelock at lock after Luke Romano was ruled out of contention with a calf injury sustained early in the Hurricanes match.

Kieran Read is also unavailable for selection due to a head knock he received in the Hurricanes match, so Luke Whitelock will pull on the number eight jersey and George Whitelock comes in at number six.

Ryan Crotty will step up to the captaincy this week and also shifts from centre to second five.

Two backline players will get their first starts of the season – Kieron Fonotia at centre and Nemani Nadolo on the wing.

Crusaders

1. Wyatt Crockett,2. Ben Funnell ,3. Owen Franks,4. Dominic Bird ,5. Samuel Whitelock,6. George Whitelock (VC),7. Matt Todd,8. Luke Whitelock ,9. Andy Ellis ,10. Colin Slade ,11. Johnny McNicholl ,12. Ryan Crotty (C) ,13. Kieron Fonotia,14. Nemani Nadolo ,15. Israel Dagg

Replacements : 16. Corey Flynn ,17. Daniel Lienert-Brown,18. Nepo Laulala,19. Jimmy Tupou ,20. Jordan Taufua,21. Willi Heinz ,22. Tyler Bleyendaal ,23. Tom Taylor

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