Super Rugby 2019: Crusaders look to future with midfield combo against Sharks

  • 01/05/2019

The Crusaders have rung the changes for their clash with the Sharks in Christchurch on Sunday, with eight new starters to the side that thrashed the Lions last weekend.

Stand-out Jack Goodhue will replace international teammate Ryan Crotty at second-five, after the latter left the field for a concussion check - which he reportedly passed - and never returned on Friday.  

With Crotty, who'll take up a contract in Japan next season, on All Blacks rest this week, coach Scott Robertson is eager to see what the rejigged tandem of Goodhue and Braydon Ennor are capable of.

"It's a great opportunity for Jack to play 12," said Robertson. "Great centres can also play well at 12."

Mitchell Hunt will steer the ship at first-five in place of Richie Mo'unga, another on All Blacks rest. Sam Whitelock also falls into that category, with Matt Todd taking the captain's armband in his absence.

The same is true for David Havili, who makes way for Will Jordan to make another start at fullback.

Jordan Taufua will start in place of Whetukamokamo Douglas at blindside flanker, while Luke Romano will make his first appearance since round six.

"It's his opportunity to play again," said Robertson. "I just think it's a testament to the depth of our squad and the ability to give young guys game time, give them confidence, get them out on the field." 

Crusaders: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Michael Alaalatoa, 4-Mitchell Dunshea, 5-Scott Barrett, 6-Jordan Taufua, 7-Matt Todd, 8-Kieran Read, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Mitchell Hunt, 11-George Bridge, 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Will Jordan

Reserves: 16-Ben Funnell, 17-Isi Tu'ungafasi, 18-Oliver Jager, 19-Luke Romano, 20-Ethan Blackadder, 21-Mitchell Drummond, 22-Brett Cameron, 23-Tim Bateman

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