Keo.co.za brings you the latest from New Zealand’s Super 14 franchises.
Brett gets chance to shine
Leon MacDonald’s return to action means Stephen Brett will finally get a run in his favoured No 10 jersey when the Crusaders face the Force this weekend.
While coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes to his pack, including flanker George Whitelock filling the massive boots of injured skipper Richie McCaw, it is the backline where the most re-shuffling has taken place.
Every position has been changed from last week’s 6-0 loss to the Highlanders. Veteran fullback MacDonald has recovered from a shoulder injury and will make his first appearance since the Crusaders opening game against the Chiefs.
There are two new faces in the backline in the form of scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali’i and inside centre Ryan Crotty while Colin Slade shifts from flyhalf to an unfamiliar role on the left wing.
Crusaders – Leon MacDonald, Adam Whitelock, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Colin Slade, Stephen Brett, Kahn Fotuali’i, Thomas Waldrom, George Whitelock, Kieran Read (c), Isaac Ross, Brad Thorn, Bronson Murray, Jason Macdonald, Wyatt Crockett.
Subs – Dan Perrin, Owen Franks, Ross Filipo, Nasi Manu, Tyson Keats, Hamish Gard, Blair Cook.
Mils back for Chiefs
Mils Muliaina will lead the Chiefs from fullback for their game against the Highlanders in Invercargill this Saturday.
All Blacks veteran Muliaina has recovered from a back strain that saw him miss their last three matches, including the 31-13 win over the Force in Hamilton last weekend – the Chiefs’ first win of the season.
The 28-year-old replaces the injured Sosene Anesi at fullback while reclaiming the captain’s armband from flanker Liam Messam.
There are five changes in total for the Chiefs from last week, including three others in the backline.
James Wilson will make his Chiefs debut on the wing in place of Sitiveni Sivivatu, who has a shoulder injury. Jackson Willison replaces Callum Bruce at inside centre while Toby Morland pushes Brendon Leonard to the reserve bench in a surprise selection.
The only change up front sees Sona Taumalolo return at prop, with Ben May switching from loosehead to tighthead and James McGougan dropping to the bench.
Chiefs - Mils Muliaina (c), Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Jackson Willison, James Wilson, Stephen Donald, Toby Morland, Liam Messam, Serge Lilo, Tanerau Latimer, Kevin O’Neill, Craig Clarke, Ben May, Aled de Malmanche, Sona Taumalolo.
Subs – Hika Elliot, James McGougan, Mark Burman, Sione Lauaki/Colin Bourke, Brendon Leonard, Mike Delany, Dwayne Sweeney.
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