Thu 17 Apr 2014 | 07:15
Crusaders experiment with Taylor
Thu 17 Apr 2014 | 07:15
Crusaders experiment with TaylorSHARE
All Black flyhalf Tom Taylor will start at outside centre when the Crusaders travel to meet the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.
The 25-year-old playmaker has never started a match at outside centre in Super Rugby before, but with the injury to Kieron Fonotia and with Reynold Lee-Lo having fallen out of favour at the Christchurch-based team – the number 13 jersey will be Taylor's on Saturday.
The three-cap All Black has started at flyhalf, inside centre and fullback for the Crusaders in his 26 games for the side in which he has amassed 255 points, but now will try his hand at a new position.
A different strategy might have been to shift Ryan Crotty to outside centre and to play Taylor in his more comfortable position of inside centre, but with the great form Crotty has shown in the number 12 jersey in recent weeks, Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has decided to keep the changes to his backline to a minimum.
As such, the rest of the backline remains the same which means that Willi Heinz continues to keep Andy Ellis on the bench in their scrumhalf battle.
In the forwards there are two changes.
Owen Franks and Nepo Laulala have switched places again so that Franks takes the number three jersey this week and Laulala takes a place on the bench.
Jordan Taufua will run out in the starting fifteen for the first time this season, having been promoted from the replacements bench to take the number six jersey and George Whitelock drops out of the matchday squad altogether.
Loose forward Luke Whitelock will provide cover from the bench and will be joined by Tim Perry who takes one of the replacement prop places from Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Utility back Adam Whitelock joins the matchday squad for the first time since the Crusaders 24-35 loss to the Blues on February 28, and takes the number 23 jersey.
Lock Luke Romano, centre Fonotia, loose forward Richie McCaw and prop Joe Moody remained sidelined with injury.
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Tom Taylor, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Tuafua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Adam Whitelock.
Date: Saturday, April 19
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kickoff: 19:35 (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)