RICHARD FERGUSON updates keo.co.za followers of the latest Super Rugby news from New Zealand.
Changes for the Chiefs
Dave Rennie has made several changes to his team to face the Rebels on Friday, with Richard Kahui and Michael Kainga both ruled out through injury.
Ben Tameifuna ans Pauliasi Manu start in the front row, Kainga missing out with a shoulder injury. In the loose trio, Sam Cane comes into the starting line-up while Matt Vant Leven gets his debut Super Rugby cap at eighthman.
The backline sees a few changes as well, Bundee Aki starting, as he did against the Sharks last week, with Kahui not risked with a shoulder niggle. Brendon Leonard rotates with Augustine Pulu in the nine jersey.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu. Substitutes: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Robbie Robinson, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Israel Dagg has been dropped to the bench after a string of ordinary performances, a reminder from coach Todd Blackadder that poor performance will not be tolerated in a Crusaders jersey.
Tom Taylor replaces Dagg at fullback, Taylor kicked seven from eight in the win against the Rebels last weekend, winning the closer than expected encounter for his team.
Other changes to the team sees Robbie Fruean returning to midfield and Dan Carter getting his first start since the birth of his child more than a month ago. Andy Ellis returns to the starting scrumhalf position, Willie Heinz dropping to the bench.
Amongst the forwards, Wyatt Crockett comes into the front row as the only change to a forward pack that is doing the business, according to Blackadder.
Crusaders: 15. Tom Taylor, 14. Tom Marshall, 13. Robbie Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Luke Whitelock, 7. Matt Todd, 6. George Whitelock, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Corey Flynn, 1. Wyatt Crockett. Substitutes: 16. Ben Funnell, 17. Joe Moody, 18. Dominic Bird, 19. Jordan Taufua, 20. Willi Heinz, 21. Adam Whitelock, 22. Israel Dagg.