The Crusaders have named their team to face the Western Force in Round 11 of Super Rugby Pacific.
Afternoon footy is back at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, as is playmaker and crowd favourite Will Jordan. Kickoff is 4.35pm on Saturday 6 May.
The 45-cap Crusader and 21-cap All Black takes his spot at fullback in his hotly anticipated first start for the franchise this season.
Scott Robertson, Crusaders Head Coach, said it’s been “a big six months for Will” and everyone was “just really pleased for him”.
“He’s got better and better and chose this game after having a couple of good training weeks,” Robertson said.
“He’s ready to play the full 80 if needed.”
Brodie McAlister takes a spot in the front row alongside Joe Moody and now-regular starter Tamaiti Williams. It’ll be McAlister’s first start in the ’23 season.
Fresh off his 50th last week, Quinten Strange will pull on the 5 jersey, Dom Gardiner in 6 with Cullen Grace returning to the starting XV at Number 8.
Noah Hotham takes a starting spot at halfback with Willi Heinz sidelined temporarily with a calf strain.
Robertson said “halfbacks, like front rowers, are hard to come by – it’s a specialist position”, and coaches have been impressed with the 19-year-old’s performance so far this season.
Richie Mo’unga sits solid at 10 with Leicester Fainga’anuku on the left wing, Macca Springer on the right.
Oli Jager is back on the bench for his second game of the ’23 season after coming off the bench against the Chiefs last week. Zach Gallagher is also ready to get some precious minutes.
It’s game on for the Crusaders at home in Christchurch, the first of two back-to-back home games for the locals. We take on the Blues on Saturday 13 May.
Be sure to make the most of the opportunity to see the team at home, and get your tickets here.