Five current and three recently departed Crusaders are set to take the field for their country on Saturday morning at the Stade de France in Paris.
Codie Taylor, Scott Barrett and Will Jordan have been named in the All Blacks starting XV for the historic test versus France in front of 80,000 fans.
Fletcher Newell and David Havili are set to make an impact off the bench.
Also in the starting XV are Samuel Whitelock and Richie Mo’unga, who called time on their career in the red and black following the franchises seventh straight Super Rugby title in 2023.
Leicester Fainga’anuku is on the bench and expected to cut through French defence should he earn minutes.
Ian Foster, All Blacks Head Coach, said it was “a privilege to play” the test, saying it was “extra special” to play “the host nation who are a very proud and in-form team”.
“[These tournaments] are different. The initial goal is to qualify for the quarterfinals and to do that we must build our game through the pool stage. That starts in game one, where we have an opportunity to compete against one of the clear tournament favourites,” Foster said.