The BNZ Crusaders will play a historic first match against the Sunwolves from Japan this Friday night. Not only is it the first time the Sunwolves have played in New Zealand, it will also see prop Wyatt Crockett set a new record for the most Super Rugby appearances by any player. 

Head Coach Scott Robertson has made a raft of changes to the side that beat the Waratahs a fortnight ago, with just five players in the 23 remaining in the same position.  Captain Sam Whitelock and vice-captain Matt Todd retain their spots at lock and loose forward; Mitchell Drummond starts again at halfback; and utitlity backs David Havili and Marty McKenzie will again wear the 15 and 22 jerseys respectively.

Kieran Read will make his first appearance of the 2017 season, having recovered from wrist surgery to take the Number 8 spot.  First five Richie Mo'unga also returns for the first time since round one, when he fractured a bone in his hand.

Two other players returning from recent injury are Jack Goodhue, who will start at centre, and Seta Tamanivalu who will play on the opposite wing to his nephew Manasa Mataele for the first time.

Two Tasman players are set to debut off the bench for the BNZ Crusaders this weekend - Andrew Makalio at hooker and Quinten Strange at lock.

Tickets for the Good Friday game at AMI Stadium are available through Ticket Direct (www.ticketdirect.co.nz or by downloading the Ticket Direct app).

Crusader For Life members can access a video interview with Scott Robertson about his team selection by logging in and checking the Media Centre now.


BNZ Crusaders team to play the Sunwolves:

1.  Wyatt Crockett 
2.  Ben Funnell
3.  Michael Alaalatoa
4.  Luke Romano 
5.  Sam Whitelock (C)
6.  Pete Samu
7.  Matt Todd (VC)
8.  Kieran Read
9.  Mitchell Drummond 
10.Richie Mo'unga
11. Manasa Mataele
12. Tim Bateman 
13. Jack Goodhue
14. Seta Tamanivalu
15. David Havili

RESERVES 
16. Andrew Makalio 
17. Joe Moody 
18. Oliver Jager
19. Quinten Strange 
20. Whetu Douglas 
21. Leon Fukofuka
22. Marty McKenzie 
23. George Bridge