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Double boost for Saders - Sonny Bill Williams and Brad Thorn will start for the Crusaders against the Reds in Brisbane on Sunday after recovering from their respective injuries.
Centre Williams (thigh) and lock Thorn (calf) return to the run-on side as they replace Ryan Crotty and Luke Romano respectively. Crotty and Romano drop to the bench.
Replacements Quentin MacDonald and Matt Todd have been bracketed with David Hall and Joe Wheeler on the wood respectively as the former duo will face late fitness tests. MacDonald and Todd missed last week’s win over the Chiefs because of injury.
Crusaders – 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willie Heinz, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Quentin MacDonald/David Hall, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Matt Todd/Joe Wheeler, 20 Steve Alfred, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Ryan Crotty.
Key returns for Landers – Adam Thomson, Shaun Treeby and Siale Piutau bolster the Highlanders’ run-on side for their game against Lions in Dunedin on Saturday.
The trio have recovered from injury after sitting several weeks on the sidelines. Flanker Thomson’s return sees Jarrad Hoeata shift to the second row in place of the injured Tom Donnelly.
Wing Piutau comes in for Telusa Veainu while inside centre Shaun Treeby forces Matt Saunders on to the bench.
This will be flyhalf Lima Sopoaga’s last appearance for the Highlanders as he heads with the NZ U20s to Italy for the Junior World Championships in June.
Highlanders - 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Mo Schwalger, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Subs: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Nick Crosswell, 19 John Hardie, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Matt Saunder, 22 Robbie Robinson.