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Captain Sam Whitelock returns to BNZ Crusaders team to face the Highlanders

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

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.

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 BowerRESERVES

2. Codie Taylor16. Andrew Makalio

3. Owen Franks17. Harry Allan

4. Scott Barrett18. Michael Alaalatoa

5. Sam Whitelock (C)19. Quinten Strange

6. Jordan Taufua20. Tom Sanders

7. Matt Todd (VC)21. Ereatara Enari

8. Whetukamokamo Douglas22. Brett Cameron

9. Bryn Hall23. 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'ungafasiRESERVES

2. Ben Funnell16. Brodie McAlister

3. Oliver Jager17. Chris Gawler

4. Will Tucker18. Sam Matenga

5. Michael Curry19. Josh Bokser

6. Billy Harmon20. Hugh Renton

7. Tom Christie21. Connor McManus

8. Ethan Blackadder22. Alex Harford

9. Mitchell Drummond23. Zach McKay

10. Tim Bateman

11. Junior Ratuva

12. Inga Finau

13. Tuli Paea

14. Sevu Reece

15. Jamie Spowart

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