Whitelock leads unchanged Crusaders into Final battle
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson named an unchanged team to take on the Lions in the Super Rugby Final in Johannesburg at weekend.
Robertson said it was great to be able to have consistency in the team throughout the play-offs.
"A squad of 25, which included the 23 who played in the quarter and semifinals, travelled to Johannesburg at the start of the week and all players are fit and available for selection this weekend - which is awesome,"he said.
"We have settled in really well in Johannesburg and we are building the week nicely towards Saturday's big clash.
"We love Final week, it is why we play," Robertson added.
Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar said the unchanged team allows them to take continuity into the Final.
"It speaks highly of how we managed the players, to have that [unchanged team] at the back end of the season," Mooar said.
He added that even though All Blacks Kieran Read and Owen Franks carried a few knocks from the win in the semifinal over the Chiefs, they had already been cleared to play at the start of the week.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge.
Date: Saturday, August 5
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 16.00 (14.00 GMT; 02.00 NZ time, Sunday, August 6)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)