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Super Rugby Pacific round 14 kicks off with the Crusaders taking on the Fijian Dura at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch as the Kiwi side look to grab second place on the ladder as the finals beckon. Join The Roar for live scores from 5:05pm AEST.
With just two matches left in the regular season, the Crusaders know they need to two big wins to give themselves the best chance of leapfrogging the Brumbies to secure second place. For the match against the Drua, coach Scott Robertson has made a number of changes including removing seven internationals from his starting line up. George Bower, Codie Taylor, Pablo Matera, Cullen Grace, Richie Mo’unga, David Havili and Will Jordan are all rested but that doesn’t mean that the Crusaders are dropping the quality bar.
Finlay Brewis and Ricky Jackson come into the front row while Zach Gallagher and Sam Whitelock join forces in the locks. Scott Barrett shifts from the second row to the back row in an intriguing positional move where he’ll join Tom Christie and Ethan Blackadder.
Fergus Burke gets another shot at the number 10 shirt while Jack Goodhue and Braydon Ennor will play outside him in the centres where they will get plenty of tackle practice from the powerful Drua centres.
For the Drua this is another chance to make progress in their opening season in the competition and to learn as they go up against one of the biggest clubs in world rugby. Although they have only been able to win twice this year, they will notice on the ladder that they are only three points behind climbing above the Force and taking 10th spot.
It’ll be tempting to try and play error free rugby against a side as intimidating as the Crusaders and not make any mistakes, but the Drua have to play their own game and attack the Kiwis. Sitting back is not going to work and trying to be someone they’re not, just won’t work.
Crusaders (1-15): Finlay Brewis, Ricky Jackson, Fletcher Newell, Zach Gallagher, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Bryn Hall, Fergus Burke, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Jack Goodhue, Braydon Ennor, Sevu Reece, Chay Fihaki.
Reserves: Shilo Klein, Tamaiti Williams, Oli Jager, Dominic Gardiner, Corey Kellow, Mitch Drummond, Simon Hickey, George Bridge.
Drua (1-15): Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Zuriel Togiatama, Samuela Tawake, Isoa Nasilasila, Ratu Rotuisolia, Joseva Tamani, Mesulame Dolokoto, Nemani Nagusa (c), Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Vinaya Habosi, Teti Tela, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Selestino Ravutaumada, Kitione Taliga.
Reserves: Tevita Ikanivere, Haereiti Hetet, Manasa Saulo, Chris Minimbi, Raikabula Momoedonu, Leone Nawai, Ilaisa Droasese, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre.