Four changes to the Crusaders starting XV as they bid for a place in the Trans Tasman final

Four changes to the Crusaders starting XV as they bid for a place in the Trans Tasman final

The Crusaders are preparing for their all-important clash with the Melbourne Rebels at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday afternoon, and Head Coach Scott Robertson has made a number of changes for the side's last regular season fixture.

George Bower, Sam Whitelock, Richie Mo'unga and Sevu Reece all return to the starting side this week, while hooker Codie Taylor will be rested and hasn't made the trip to Sydney. It's a timely return for Brodie McAlister, who has recovered from the head knock he sustained against the Reds, and has been named to start this week in Taylor's absence.


In the loose forwards, Ethan Blackadder is also set to return from concussion and will slot in to the number six jersey, while Whetukamokamo Douglas shifts to number eight in place of Cullen Grace, who has been ruled out with a hip injury he picked up against the Western Force. 





Mitchell Drummond, who earlier this week announced he has re-signed with the Crusaders through to 2024, will start at halfback, while the return of Mo'unga and Reece completes the changes in the backline. 

"The equation is pretty simple for us, we'll know what we need to do come Saturday afternoon in Sydney," Robertson said. 


"It's definitely been a finals mindset for us this week, and we just need to get over there and do what is required to earn ourselves another week together."

Crusaders team to play the Melbourne Rebels:

1.   George Bower

2.   Brodie McAlister

3.   Michael Alaalatoa

4.   Scott Barrett (C)

5.   Samuel Whitelock

6.   Ethan Blackadder

7.   Sione Havili Talitui

8.   Whetukamokamo Douglas

9.   Mitchell Drummond

10. Richie Mo'unga

11. Leicester Fainga'anuku

12. David Havili (VC)

13. Braydon Ennor

14. Sevu Reece

15. Will Jordan 

RESERVES:

16. Nathan Vella

17. Tamaiti Williams

18. Oliver Jager

19. Mitchell Dunshea

20. Tom Sanders

21. Bryn Hall

22. Dallas McLeod

23. Manasa Mataele

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

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