First starts and some great returns
Rob Penney has named his Crusaders team to face Munster in their historic clash in Cork, Ireland.
Quinten Strange captains the team who take the field at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night, Sunday morning New Zealand time. The mammoth fixture will be played in front of a sold-out 40,000-plus passionate Munster crowd.
It heralds the return of a huge front row for the red and black. George Bower and George Bell are back, both injured for the majority of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, while Owen Franks, an All Blacks and Crusaders centurion, pulls on the jersey to jubilation from Crusaders fans.
The combination of Dominic Gardiner, Tom Christie and Cullen Grace steady the forwards’ ship, while the perenially safe hands of Mitch Drummond return to halfback.
Taha Kemara pulls on the No 10. jersey in his first start for the Crusaders, while new recruits Tahlor Cahill (lock), Levi Aumua (outside centre) and Leigh Halfpenny (fullback) all take the field for kick off.
Macca Springer and Chay Fihaki take up the left and right wing respectively, with All Blacks bolter Dallas McLeod (inside centre) rounding out the Starting XV.
The strength of the Crusaders team is matched only by the strength of the opposition and the enormity of the occasion.
Bring on the Northern Tour. Bring on Munster. Bring on the noise. It’s game time.
Catch the game live on Sky Sport 2, kick-off Saturday 6am NZT