BNZ Crusaders team named to play Chiefs in season opener
- Published: 22 February 2018
The BNZ Crusaders will kick off their 2018 Investec Super Rugby season at home this week, when they host the Chiefs in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Head Coach Scott Robertson has named a strong starting fifteen for the New Zealand derby match, including nine All Blacks with 281 test caps between them, led by captain Sam Whitelock and vice-captains Matt Todd and Ryan Crotty.
There are just two changes from the side that played their final pre-season match against the Highlanders in Waimumu last Thursday. Luke Romano joins the starting line up this week, and will lead the team to field for what will be his 100th match for the BNZ Crusaders. Scott Barrett will provide locking cover on the bench. In the backs, George Bridge will start on the left wing, having spent some time at fullback during the pre-season.
Billy Harmon could be set to earn his first Super Rugby cap on Saturday night, if called upon in the reserves. The 23 year-old loose forward, who has 20 provincial caps for Canterbury to his name, will take a spot on the bench. Another familiar face returns to the match day 23 this week in former Crusaders and Highlanders prop, Chris King, who will wear the No. 17 jersey.
Kick off is 7:35pm, Saturday 24 February, at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Following the BNZ Crusaders season opener against the Chiefs on Saturday, the Crusaders Knights development side will play their first match of the season on Sunday afternoon in Christchurch.
Head Coach Mark Brown has named a starting team which features eight BNZ Crusaders squad members, including experienced first five-eighth Mike Delany and Maori All Blacks representative Tim Bateman. The side will be captained by Jack Stratton.
Kick off in the Crusaders Knights versus Hurricanes development match is 1pm, Sunday 25 February at Linfield Park in Christchurch, and entry to the match is free.
Tickets for Saturday night's BNZ Crusaders versus Chiefs match, and all of the BNZ Crusaders 2018 Investec Super Rugby games are now on sale via www.ticketdirect.co.nz
BNZ Crusaders team to play the Chiefs:
|2. Codie Taylor||16. Ben Funnell|
|3. Michael Alaalatoa||17. Chris King|
|4. Luke Romano||18. Oliver Jager|
|5. Sam Whitelock (C)||19. Scott Barrett|
|6. Peter Samu||20. Billy Harmon|
|7. Matt Todd (VC)||21. Mitchell Drummond|
|8. Jordan Taufua||22. Mitchell Hunt|
|9. Bryn Hall||23. Manasa Mataele|
|10. Richie Mo’unga|
|11. George Bridge|
|12. Ryan Crotty (VC)|
|13. Jack Goodhue|
|14. Seta Tamanivalu|
|15. David Havili|
Crusaders Knights team to play Hurricanes development:
|2. Andrew Makalio||16. Sam Moli|
|3. Reuben O'Neill||17. Harry Allan|
|4. Quinten Strange||18. Samuel Matenga|
|5. Will Tucker||19. Hamish Dalzell|
|6. Ethan Blackadder||20. Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta|
|7. Tom Christie||21. Jack Grooby|
|8. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis||22. Brett Cameron|
|9. Jack Stratton (C)||23. Ngane Punivai|
|10. Mike Delany||24. Leicester Faingaanuku|
|11. Braydon Ennor|
|12. Rameka Poihipi|
|13. Tim Bateman|
|14. Jone Macilai|
|15. Jamie Spowart|