Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson decided on several changes to his XV starter for the Super Rugby Aotearoa date 9 clash against Highlanders in Christchurch, the Sunday live from 0.35 on ESPN Play and delayed at 11 on ESPN 3.
All Blacks pillar Joe Moody returns to the starting team this week, having missed the game against the Chiefs at Hamilton due to a family duel, while Vice Captain Whetu Douglas and center Braydon Ennor have trained this week. to make their respective returns. due to injury.
Douglas’s return as eighth brings Tom Sanders back to play as a wing and Sione Havili takes a place on the bench.
Quinten Strange’s promotion to the starting team is the only other change among the forwards, with Luke Romano providing bench coverage and Mitchell Dunshea resting for this game.
Ennor’s inclusion in midfield is one of only two changes on the back line, with Bryn Hall and Mitchell Drummond rotating so that Hall starts scrum half and Drummond provides a major impact from the bench.
A win against the Highlanders on Sunday means Crusaders will be champion of Super Rugby Aotearoa, but Robertson said the team’s focus for its last two games will be the same as in all games so far. this season.
“We know what a win on Sunday means to us, but we still have two games to prepare for, and they are going to be incredibly difficult,” he explained. “Our focus on these next two games will be the same as the last six, it will all be on the consistency and montage of performances that we can be proud of against the Highlanders and the Blues.
“It is very important that we recognize our local fans, so we will take time to connect with them after Sunday’s game and thank them for their immense support this season. It’s amazing to have a full stadium again for this game against the Highlanders, and we’re determined to make them proud. “
Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (c), 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku
Place: Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Ben O’Keeffe