RICHARD FERGUSON updates keo.co.za followers of the latest news from New Zealand.
Continuity for Crusaders
The Crusaders have made three changes to the starting side that beat the Stormers last week, to face the Sharks in Durban on Friday. Two of the changes are injury enforced while Andy Ellis starts ahead of Willi Heinz.
The injured are Johnny McNicholl, who is already back in New Zealand following the fracture of his fibula against the Stormers, while Corey Flynn misses out due to an eye injury incurred during training.
In for McNicholl comes Zac Guildford, who shifts to left wing while Adam Whitelock takes right wing, and Ben Funnell starts in the front row. Codie Taylor has been named on the bench as hooker cover even though he is still on his way to South Africa. Israel Dagg will also make an appearance off the bench.
The Sharks have a terrible record against the Crusaders, and although their stocks are further depleted this week, the Crusaders have every chance to win both their South African tour matches.
Crusaders: 15. Tom Marshall, 14. Adam Whitelock, 13. Robbie Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Luke Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock (Capt), 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Ben Funnell, 1. Wyatt Crockett Substitutes: 16. Codie Taylor, 17. Joe Moody, 18. Dominic Bird, 19. Jordan Taufua, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Telusa Veainu, 22. Israel Dagg
Blues vs Le Blues
The Blues will host France in an international friendly match whilst the team tours New Zealand.
Blues coach John Kirwan has arranged for his side to face international opposition, a first for many of them, as the Super Rugby goes into its annual three week break.
The match will take place 11 June at the North Harbour Stadium.
Savea gets his start
Ardie Savea will make his Super Rugby debut against the Waratahs this weekend, finally getting the nod to play in the yellow jersey.
Savea starts in the place of Karl Lowe, who misses out due to personal reasons (supporting his mate Chris Eaton after the death of his wife), and is one of three changes to the team that beat the Kings. Savea missed the early part of the season due to a suspension for a tackle he made during the preseason.
Dane Coles and Jeremy Thrush are both injured and are replaced by Motu Matu’u and Mark Reddish respectively. Victor Vito is carrying a calf injury and still has to prove his fitness, Faifili Levave bracketed in should he not start.
Hurricanes: 15. Andre Taylor, 14. Alapati Leiua, 13. Conrad Smith, 12. Tim Bateman, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Victor Vito/Faifili Levave, 7. Ardie Savea, 6. Brad Shields, 5. Jason Eaton, 4. Mark Reddish, 3. Ben May, 2. Motu Matu’u, 1. Ben Franks. Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon/Reggie Goodes, 17. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen/Reggie Goodes, 18. James Broadhurst, 19. Faifili Levave/Jack Lam, 20. Chris Smylie, 21. Tusi Pisi, 22. Reynold Lee-Lo.