Crusaders make three changes for Highlanders

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to the team that beat the Sharks for this week’s match against the Highlanders.

All of the three Crusaders changes are to the forwards as Blackadder has retained the backline from last week’s clash in Durban.

Joe Moody and Owen Franks are the starting props this week, with Alex Hodgman and Nepo Laulala providing cover from the bench.

Jimmy Tupou starts at lock this week alongside Sam Whitelock, and Scott Barrett is in the replacements with Richie McCaw.

Dan Carter returns to the team from paternity leave bur he is on the replacements bench.

The match will be Owen Franks’ 100th game for the Crusaders, which coach Todd Blackadder says is a remarkable achievement that will be celebrated by the whole team.

“Everyone will want to make this a special occasion for Owen, because he gives so much to this team. He leads the way with his professionalism and dedication and provides an outstanding mentor to other members of the team. He gives 100 percent every single day, both in his preparation and when he plays,” Blackadder said.

“I know that Owen will approach this game the same way as he approaches every game, but we will take some time afterwards to mark this important milestone with him and show our appreciation for the immense contribution he makes to this team.” Crusaders team to play the Highlanders:


1. Joe Moody , 2. Ben Funnell , 3. Owen Franks , 4 .Jimmy Tupou , 5. Sam Whitelock ,6. Jordan Taufua , 7. Matt Todd , 8. Kieran Read (c) ,9. Andy Ellis , 10. Colin Slade , 11. Nemani Nadolo , 12 .Ryan Crotty , 13 .Kieron Fonotia , 14 .David Havili , 15 . Israel Dagg

Replacements : 16 Codie Taylor , 17 Alex Hodgman,18 Nepo Laulala , 19 Scott Barrett , 20 Richie McCaw , 21 Mitchell Drummond , 22 Dan Carter , 23 Nafi Tuitavake

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