Full-back David Havili has been named as the Crusaders’ captain for their Super Rugby derby against the Highlanders in Christchurch on Friday.
The only changes to the champions’ starting team this week are in the forwards, with regular captain Scott Barrett (knee) and Oli Jager (concussion) both ruled out with injury.
Luke Romano and Michael Alaalatoa come in to the starting side at lock and tighthead prop respectively. Isi Tuungafasi moves in to the matchday team and will wear the number 17 jersey.
Havili’s elevation to the captaincy means Codie Taylor and Jack Goodhue will be the vice-captains for this game.
Will Jordan (groin injury) has also been ruled out of this match, so Leicester Faingaanuku will be on the bench in his place. Meanwhile, Ethan Roots is set to become Crusader number 241 on Friday night, if called on in the reserves to make his Super Rugby debut.
THE CRUSADERS HAVE PLAYED THE HIGHLANDERS 37 TIMES IN SUPER RUGBY SINCE 1996; THE CRUSADERS HAVE WON 25 MATCHES, LOST 11 TIMES AND DRAWN ONCE.
The ‘Saders 25 wins give them a record of winning 68% of their matches against the ‘Landers regardless of venue.
This weekend the match will be played in Christchurch which is home for the Crusaders and the venue where the teams have met 19 times.
In those 19 matches, the Crusaders have won 16 times and lost three. It gives the Crusaders a record of winning 84% of their matches against the Highlanders at home.
Average score when the two teams play in Christchurch: Crusaders 34 Highlanders 20.
The 10-times champions have won the last five matches against the lowly Highlanders at home, and the visitors have not won in the city since 2015.
Average score: Crusaders 29 Highlanders 20
Last five results
Fri, 21 Jun 2019 Crusaders 38-14 Highlanders @Christchurch
Fri, 12 Apr 2019 Crusaders 43-17 Highlanders @Christchurch
Sat, 16 Mar 2019 Crusaders 0-0 Highlanders 0-0 Dunedin
Fri, 06 Jul 2018 Crusaders 45-22 Highlanders @Christchurch
Sat, 17 Mar 2018 Crusaders 17-25 Highlanders @Dunedin
Sat, 22 Jul 2017 Crusaders 17-0 Highlanders @Christchurch
Crusaders overall record against the Highlanders
Played 37, Wins 25, Losses 11, Draws 1
15 David Havili (c), 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 18 George Bower, 19 Ethan Roots, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Michell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
15 Michael Collins, 14 Kirisi Kuridrani, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Josh Ioane, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 James Lentjes (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Jesse Parete, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Conan O’Donnell, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Teihorangi Walden, 23 Josh McKay.
Match Officials and details
Date : Friday 21 February
Venue : Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Kick Off local: 19:05
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Brendon Pickerill Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO : Chris Hart