Century up for Dagg
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Israel Dagg will become the latest Super Rugby centurion when he takes the field at fullback when the Crusaders face the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday.
Dagg has been named in a matchday 23 that also features six Crusaders debutants.
"Izzy [Dagg] is obviously a talented individual, but he also impresses with his commitment and positive influence within the team environment," said Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson. "To reach 100 Super Rugby games is a testament to both his undeniable skillset and determination to play at an elite level. We know our fans will be excited for him to run out on to AMI Stadium for his 100th match and as a team we want to make it a memorable one."
Dagg will be joined in the backs by four Crusaders debutants – Bryn Hall at scrumhalf; George Bridge and Seta Tamanivalu on the wings and Jack Goodhue at centre. Ere Enari is also set to make his debut if he comes off the bench. Richie Mo’unga and Ryan Crotty complete the starting backline, while Mitchell Hunt and David Havili provide cover from the bench.
The Crusaders forward pack is brimming with experience. Joe Moody and Owen Franks are the starting props with Wyatt Crockett and Mike Alaalatoa in reserve, and Ben Funnell and Codie Taylor will cover hooker.
Scott Barrett and new Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock will start at lock, with Luke Romano providing cover. Loose forwards Jordan Taufua and Matt Todd will be joined by debutant Whetu Douglas at No.8, and Pete Samu will be ready to make an impact off the bench.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ereatari Enari, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 David Havili.
Date: Saturday, February 25
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 AEST; 06.35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Glen Newman (New Zealand)