NZ latest – Crotty replaces SBW

Keo.co.za brings you news from New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises.

Crotty replaces SBW - Ryan Crotty in for Sonny Bill Williams in midfield is the only change the Crusaders have made for their match against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Williams sustained a hip injury last week but is expected to be fit to play in the play-offs or semi-final. Tu Umaga-Marshall comes on to the reserves bench as outside backs cover.

Meanwhile the Hurricanes have named an unchanged starting lineup.

Crusaders - 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andy Ellis; 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks.
Subs: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Tu Umaga-Marshall.

Hurricanes - 15 Cory Jane, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu; 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Subs: 16 Laurence Coreltt, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Richard Buckman.

Chiefs change four - Aled de Malmanche will play his last game for the Chiefs against the Reds on Saturday.

He has been told he is unlikely to be offered a contract extension and as such has signed for Paris club Stade Francais for two years.

He is one of four changes. Save Tokula will start at centre, replacing Richard Kahui who picked up a neck injury against the Hurricanes last week. Lock Romana Graham comes in for Japan-bound Isaac Ross, while Ben Afeaki replaces Toby Smith as the back up prop on the reserves bench.

Chiefs - 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Dwayne Sweeney, 11 Stiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Nathan White, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Ben May.
Subs: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, Culum Retallick, 18 Matt Vant Leven, 19 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 20 Tim Nanai-Williams, 21 Jackson Willison.

Ash cloud hampers travel - A low laying ash cloud from a Chilean volcano is disrupting the travel of Australasia’s Super Rugby sides.

With commercial flights grounded, the Crusaders will fly to Wellington for their clash with the Hurricanes aboard a 67-year-old Douglas DC3. Crusaders and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is patron of the trust that owns the aging aircraft which can fly at lower levels than modern jets.

The Highlanders, who were due to fly from Dunedin to Auckland for Friday’s match against the Blues, will now travel Thursday on a charter flight.

The Reds left Brisbane for Auckland on Thursday morning en route to Hamilton for Saturday’s match against the Chiefs, while the Force may be forced to consider alternative transport to Melbourne for their Super Rugby clash on Friday if their flight is cancelled.