Zach Gallagher to debut for the Crusaders against the Highlanders

Zach Gallagher to debut for the Crusaders against the Highlanders

The Crusaders are preparing to welcome fans back to Orangetheory Stadium this Friday night, when they host the Highlanders in Round 7 of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. 

While there are only a few changes from the side that took the field in Hamilton last week, the Crusaders medical team has confirmed lock Sam Whitelock will miss the next four weeks of rugby with a broken finger, while Mitch Dunshea has unfortunately been ruled out for the remainder of the season, having had knee surgery yesterday. Antonio Shalfoon has been called into the squad to replace Dunshea.

Meanwhile, hooker Brodie McAlister will also miss the next four to six weeks of the season with the calf injury he sustained during the warm up for last weekend's game.

It's an all-new front row this week, with Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Fletcher Newell all returning to the starting side. The forward pack is otherwise unchanged, with Quinten Strange partnering Captain Scott Barrett at lock, and Cullen Grace retaining the Number 8 jersey, while Pablo Matera has been named in the reserves. 

In the backs, Mitch Drummond returns to the starting side to face the Highlanders, as does Sevu Reece - who last week overtook Dan Carter to become the third top try scorer of all time for the Crusaders.

20-year-old Canterbury lock, Zach Gallagher, is in line to become Crusader #263 this week, having been named in the reserves.

"Zach has trained well and is deserving of his chance to pull on the jersey this week and run out in front of his home crowd," Crusaders Head Coach, Scott Robertson, said. 

"We're really excited for Zach - he's a tough, relentless player with a massive engine, so we're looking forward to seeing what he can do. He's a local lad too, who came up through the grades here in Christchurch, so it's a big occasion for him to have the opportunity to debut in front of his friends and family."

Kick off in the Crusaders match against the Highlanders is 7:05pm, Friday 1st April at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. Tickets are available via Ticketek. The match will also be televised live on Sky Sport. 

Crusaders team to play the Highlanders:

1.   Joe Moody
2.   Codie Taylor (VC)
3.   Fletcher Newell
4.   Scott Barrett (C)
5.   Quinten Strange
6.   Ethan Blackadder
7.   Tom Christie
8.   Cullen Grace
9.   Mitch Drummond
10. Richie Mo'unga
11. George Bridge
12. David Havili (VC)
13. Leicester Fainga'anuku
14. Sevu Reece
15. Will Jordan

16. Shilo Klein
17. George Bower
18. Tamaiti Williams
19. Zach Gallagher*
20. Pablo Matera
21. Bryn Hall
22. Fergus Burke
23. Braydon Ennor

*denotes Crusaders debut

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