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Crusaders name strong side for Blues clash

9:50 AM Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

All Blacks tighthead prop Owen Franks has been left in the Crusaders reserves for the first match of the Super Rugby season against the Blues at Eden Park on Friday night.

Coach Todd Blackadder has sprung an early surprise by naming Ben Franks ahead of his brother in the number three jersey. With the Blues without Tony Woodcock for the early part of the season, it was thought that the Crusaders would have wanted to put pressure on in this area, and Owen Franks is one of the best in the business.

Wyatt Crockett has been named at loosehead for the Crusaders, with former Highlander Tom Donnelly alongside Sam Whitelock in the second row.

Tyler Bleyendaal has been named at first-five, as expected, with All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg named on the left wing. Tom Marshall is at fullback.

All Blacks hooker Corey Flynn is on the bench after recently recovering from a fractured toe.

Crusaders team to play the Blues: Wyatt Crockett, Quentin MacDonald, Ben Franks, Tom Donnelly, Samuel Whitelock, George Whitelock, Matt Todd, Kieran Read (c), Andy Ellis, Tyler Bleyendaal, Israel Dagg, Ryan Crotty, Robbie Fruean, Sean Maitland, Tom Marshall.

Reserves: Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Adam Whitelock.

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