BNZ Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson has named his side for Saturday night's southern derby against the Highlanders, and it includes the return of four All Blacks.

Owen Franks, Matt Todd and George Bridge all return from rest weeks for this game, while Sam Whitelock will Captain the side for the first time in 2019, returning to partner Scott Barrett at lock.


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Photo courtesy of Photosport - Official Photographer of the BNZ Crusaders

It's a new starting front row for the Crusaders this week, with George Bower, fresh from his debut against the Chiefs, set to earn his first Super Rugby start. The hookers will swap for this game with Codie Taylor to wear the No. 2 jersey and Andrew Makalio moving to the bench, while Franks' return sees Michael Alaalatoa shift to the reserves.

This will be Owen Franks' 150th game for the Crusaders (149th Investec Super Rugby game) and he will lead the side out on to Forsyth Barr Stadium to mark the occasion. 

The return of Todd is the only change to the loose forward trio this week. 

In the back line, the halfbacks swap for this game, so that Bryn Hall wears the No. 9 jersey and 
Ereatara Enari provides cover on the bench. George Bridge's return sees Braydon Ennor shift to the right wing, and David Havili will start at fullback, in place of Will Jordan.

Kick off in the BNZ Crusaders' Investec Super Rugby match against the Highlanders is Saturday 16 March, 7:35pm, at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

BNZ Crusaders team to play the Highlanders:

1. George Bower RESERVES
2. Codie Taylor 16. Andrew Makalio
3. Owen Franks 17. Harry Allan
4. Scott Barrett 18. Michael Alaalatoa
5. Sam Whitelock (C) 19. Quinten Strange
6. Jordan Taufua 20. Tom Sanders
7. Matt Todd (VC) 21. Ereatara Enari
8. Whetukamokamo Douglas 22. Brett Cameron
9. Bryn Hall 23. Will Jordan
10. Richie Mo'unga  
11. George Bridge  
12. Ryan Crotty (VC)  
13. Jack Goodhue   
14. Braydon Ennor  
15. David Havili  

The Crusaders Knights will play the curtain raiser this weekend, when they take on the Highlanders Bravehearts on Saturday evening in Dunedin.

There are a several changes to the starting line-up from the team that took the field against the Highlanders side in Christchurch last weekend, and a number of BNZ Crusaders squad members will feature in the Knights side - including the welcome return from injury of tighthead prop, Oliver Jager. 

Kick off in the Knights versus Bravehearts match is Saturday 16 March, 5pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Crusaders Knights team to play Highlanders Bravehearts:

1. Isi Tu'ungafasi RESERVES
2. Ben Funnell 16. Brodie McAlister
3. Oliver Jager 17. Chris Gawler
4. Will Tucker 18. Sam Matenga
5. Michael Curry 19. Josh Bokser
6. Billy Harmon 20. Hugh Renton
7. Tom Christie 21. Connor McManus
8. Ethan Blackadder 22. Alex Harford
9. Mitchell Drummond 23. Zach McKay
10. Tim Bateman  
11. Junior Ratuva  
12. Inga Finau  
13. Tuli Paea  
14. Sevu Reece  
15. Jamie Spowart