Team Announcement: Crusaders Vs Highlanders

Team Announcement: Crusaders Vs Highlanders

The Crusaders have named the squad that will take on the Highlanders at Super Rugby Pacific’s Super Round in Melbourne. The team run out onto AAMI Park on Friday 3 March at 6:00pm AEDT (8:00pm NZDT).  

Sam Whitelock returns to play in a big motivational move for the team. The All Blacks centurion will bring maturity and more than a decade of experience onto the grass. 

After a starring debut at Orangetheory Stadium last week, Christian Lio-Willie takes a spot in the starting XV, while Cullen Grace undergoes further assessment after sustaining an injury versus the Chiefs.

David Havili moves to second five-eighth with Jack Goodhue moving to centre. Fergus Burke steers the ship from fullback. 

  1. Joe Moody
  2. Codie Taylor (VC)
  3. Tamaiti Williams
  4. Scott Barrett (C)
  5. Sam Whitelock
  6. Ethan Blackadder
  7. Tom Christie
  8. Christian Lio-Willie
  9. Mitchell Drummond
  10. Richie Mo'unga
  11. Leicester Fainga'anuku
  12. David Havili
  13. Jack Goodhue
  14. Sevu Reece
  15. Fergus Burke

16. Brodie McAlister
17. George Bower
18. Seb Calder
19. Zach Gallagher
20. Sione Havili Talitui
21. Noah Hotham*
22. Braydon Ennor
23. Macca Springer.

* Debut


Head Coach Clarke Dermody has made several changes to his starting team for the round 2 Super Round match against the Crusaders in Melbourne on Friday night.

A couple of key injuries and All Black rest periods have influenced some of the changes. Jona Nareki withdrew late from the first-round game against the Blues with a foot injury and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u who damaged his ribs in the opening moments of the same game are expected to be sidelined for several weeks.

All Blacks Shannon Frizell and Ethan de Groot will have the week off under the All-Black load management programme and are likely available, along with Aaron Smith, for the round three match against the Chiefs.

Ayden Johnstone, Andrew Makalio and Will Tucker make up the new look tight-five and Sean Withy’s Blues performance earns him another start alongside youngster Nikora Broughton in the loose trio. Broughton captained the NZ Barbarians U20 side last year and is a promising mobile number eight who will be making his debut performance at Super Rugby level.

Coach Dermody has the very experienced James Lentjes to bring off the bench and lock/six cove, Max Hicks, gets his first chance to take the field.

Highlanders v Crusaders – 6:00pm AEST, Friday 3rd March, AAMI Stadium

  1. Ayden Johnstone
  2. Andrew Makalio
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Paripari Parkinson
  5. Will Tucker
  6. Billy Harmon (C)
  7. Sean Withy
  8. Nikora Broughton
  9. Kemara Hauiti-Parapara
  10. Freddie Burns
  11. Connor Garden-Bachop
  12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen
  13. Josh Timu
  14. Jonah Lowe
  15. Sam Gilbert

Reserves: 16. Rhys Marshall, 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18. Saula Ma'u, 19. Max Hicks, 20. James Lentjes, 21. Folau Fakatava, 22. Mitch Hunt, 23. Mosese Dawai

Not Available due to injury: Fabian Holland (knee) , James Arscott (knee), Fetuli Paea (calf) Vili Koroi (knee) Marty Banks (groin) Jona Nareki (foot) Marino Mikaele Tu’u (ribs) Hugh Renton (foot) Scott Gregory (knee) Jeff Thwaites (back)

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