Kieran Read out after taking a hard hit to the pelvis

THE CRUSADERS will play the Blues this Saturday night for the second time this season.  They last played at Eden Park in the opening round of the Super Rugby season and the Crusaders won by 19 points to 18.  This time the Crusaders will host the Blues at the new AMI Stadium in Addington.

Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team, which includes seven changes in the starting fifteen from the team that lost to the Rebels last weekend.

Most of the changes are in the backs and include Israel Dagg taking the fullback spot and Andy Ellis returning to halfback, so Tom Marshall and Willi Heinz move to the bench. Adam Whitelock will start on the right wing this week, and Dan Carter will move to first five, which allows Ryan Crotty to play at second five.

Kieran Read and Luke Whitelock were both unavailable for selection due to injuries sustained during last week’s game.  Read is still recovering from a heavy fall onto his pelvis, and Whitelock is being rested after a minor head injury.  That sees captain Richie McCaw move to number 8 and Matt Todd come in at number 7.

Tom Taylor is also unavailable for selection this week after a minor quadriceps strain.

Starting XV:
15. Israel Dagg, 14. Adam Whitelock, 13. Robbie Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter (vc), 9. Andy Ellis, 1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. George Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Richie McCaw (c)

16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Tom Donnelly, 19. Brendon O’Connor, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Tyler Bleyendaal, 22. Tom Marshall