Barrett and Havili return for the struggling Crusaders

Barrett and Havili return for the struggling Crusaders

Hard graft and consistency are expected from the boys this week as we return home for just our third game in Christchurch this season. Naturally the pressure is on the Crusaders to turn in a shift worthy of the support we have from our loyal members and fans. 

Scott Barrett is back in what we know can be a momentum shifting start at lock. The veteran captain has been huge in corralling the troops behind the green fence at Rugby Park in recent weeks while recovering from a finger injury, so to have him back on the field…stoked. 

David Havili also returns from injury, covering 10 on the bench. Expect to see him in and around that first five jersey a bit more.

The Ethan Blackadder and Cullen Grace combo is building nicely as Grace marks his 50th game in the colours – a huge milestone for a key member of the squad. Christian Lio-Willie rounds out the loose forwards, earning another start off the back of some solid performances. 

George Bower, Brodie McAlister and Fletcher Newell recombine in the front row, with Quin Strange joining Barrett as lock.

George Bell, Joe Moody and Owen Franks will be ready to slot into the front row as needed, as will Jamie Hannah and Corey Kellow.

Rivez Reihana is back at full strength and will start at 10, with centurion Crusaders Mitch Drummond at halfback. Noah Hotham will come on for Drummond off the bench.

Heremaia Murray earns a start on the left wing, while Crusaders all-time top try scorer Sevu Reece will take the right. Reece took over the mantle from Caleb Ralph last week when he touched down for his 53rd try in the red and black.

Dallas McLeod and Levi Aumua take up the centre while Johnny McNicholl has his first start at fullback. Chay Fihaki will come back into the mix off the bench.


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