The Crusaders have named their side to face the Rebels in Round 9 of Super Rugby Pacific ’23.
The team flew to Melbourne on Wednesday ready to face the locals at AAMI Park for the first time this season. Our boys were last there in Round 2 for Super Round when they played the Highlanders in a unique Southern Derby away from home.
Scott Barrett returns as captain after two weeks off the paddock, joining Crusaders veteran Sam Whitelock who’s back after injuring his hand against the Blues in Round 3. Expect strength in the scrum and on defense.
Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Tamaiti Williams resume duties in the front row in a sign of strength and consistency for the defending champions.
David Havili returns to the starting XV after making an impact off the bench against Moana Pasifika before the team’s bye week. The Crusaders centurion was injured in Round 3 against the Drua in Fiji and is back to full strength and ready to perform.
The tide has well and truly turned on the team’s injury toll. Cullen Grace is back in the playing 23, ready on the bench to make his mark for the first time this season.
Jack Goodhue sits alongside him on the bench. He left the field against Moana Pasifika in Round 7 after a head knock, but he’s back to his best and expected to make an impact.
Fergus Burke resumes fullback duties, with Crusaders centurions Mitchell Drummond and Richie Mo’unga controlling things on the inside.
Bye week marks the halfway mark, as the team’s focus turns now to the business end of the ’23 season. The Crusaders sit 4th on the table, the Rebels currently sitting 10th.