Crusaders' All Blacks benched
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has named an All Black-laden bench for his team's classic Southern Derby.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has named an All Black-laden bench for his team's classic Southern Derby, as their Super Rugby campaign resumes against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.
Blackadder made a number of changes to the starting line-up, but more significant is the appearance of All Blacks Corey Flynn, 17 Wyatt Crockett, Luke Romano and Kieran Read on the bench.
The forward pack sees a number of changes - with Joe Moody starting at loosehead prop and Nepo Laulala at tighthead.
All Black Owen Franks is recovering from an elbow infection and is out of consideration for this match.
Corey Flynn returns from a hamstring injury, but only gets a place on the bench - with Ben Funnell starting in the No.2 jersey.
If he makes it of the bench the game will mark a significant occasion for Flynn, who is set to become the most capped Crusader - with 130 matches under his belt.
He surpasses Crusaders legend Reuben Thorne.
Locks Tom Donnelly and Sam Whitelock make the starting fifteen, while Luke Romano will join All Black captain Kieran Read on the replacement bench.
Luke Whitelock starts in the No.8 jersey.
The backs have a more familiar look to the selection that featured before the June break.
Tom Taylor comes in as inside centre, moving Ryan Crotty to the outside and Robbie Fruean to the bench.
The last time the two sides met was in Round 10 of the competition and the Crusaders came away with a 24-10 win.
They will be looking to repeat this performance and be one step closer to securing a place in the play-offs.
The Crusaders are currently sitting sixth on the table and have three round robin matches left to play.
All three games are against New Zealand conference counterparts, kicking off with the Southern Derby in Dunedin against the Highlanders, followed by the Chiefs (July 5) and then the Hurricanes (July 12).
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Robbie Fruean, 22 Adam Whitelock.
Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand). Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)