Crusaders call on 'physical' Fijian

Wed, 12 Mar 2014 08:23
Large nemani nadolo crusaders

The Crusaders are ready to unleash their Fijian 'monster' onto the Super Rugby stage when they face the Rebels on Friday.

The Crusaders are ready to unleash their Fijian 'monster' onto the Super Rugby stage when they face the Rebels on Friday.

Nemani Nadolo, who weighs in at 125 kilogramme and stands at 194 centimetres, has been named on the Crusaders' replacement for the trip to Melbourne.

He usually plays on the wing, but covers most outside back positions.

Nadolo, said to be one of the most exciting players in the 2014 Super Rugby competition, is expected to bring a "blockbusting dynamic" to the Crusaders team

Coach Todd Blackadder said Nadolo was a line-breaker when he played for the Crusaders development side on Sunday.

"He's got a real physical dynamic, dimension to his play," Blackadder told the New Zealand media.

"It's probably something a little bit different and it's probably something that we've lacked. So looking forward to injecting him into the game."

Blackadder made a number of changes to his starting XV.

Blackadder is taking along 19 of the 23 players who beat the Stormers last weekend, but many of them will be wearing a different number on their backs.

There is just one change to the forwards - with Ben Funnell starting at hooker this week instead of Corey Flynn, who is unavailable after suffering a fractured eye socket in last weekend's match.

Codie Taylor enters the playing 23 for the first time this season to provide cover off the bench.

Colin Slade will start at flyhalf - which sees Tom Taylor shift out to inside centre, Ryan Crotty move into outside centre and Israel Dagg returning to fullback

Nafi Tuitavake is the only player in the starting XV who was not involved last week.  He has recovered from a hamstring strain to take the right wing and Johnny McNicholl will take the left wing.

Andy Ellis takes the starting scrumhalf spot again and, with Willi Heinz recovering from a calf injury.

Mitchell Drummond has an opportunity to make his Crusaders debut if he comes off the bench.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Nemani Nadolo.

Date: Friday, March 14
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.40 (08.40 GMT; 21.40 NZ time)
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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